Joby Aviation announced that it has received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA. This has been "a key priority for Joby’s air operations team,” according to a company representative. (Photo: Joby Aviation)
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Joby Aviation a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate, permitting Joby to begin on-demand commercial operations with air taxis. The company originally expected to receive the certificate in the second half of this year. Earning the FAA’s Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate is necessary for developers of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) in order to begin operations in the U.S.
“Receiving our Part 135 Certificate has been a key priority for Joby’s air operations team,” a representative from Joby told Avionics International, explaining how they achieved this milestone ahead of schedule. “The work on our certificate also fit the FAA’s timing well.”
Joby’s team expects to begin passenger-carrying operations in 2024. After receiving the Part 135 Certificate, the representative shared, they will now place their focus on developing operational experience and validation of their supporting software.
Joby’s second pre-production eVTOL prototype has already performed numerous tests—both flight tests and ground-based taxi testing. This prototype was awarded the FAA’s Special Airworthiness Certification and also received airworthiness approval from the U.S. Air Force. And just a few months ago, in March, Joby announced completion of its first Systems Review and Compliance Review and the FAA’s approval, as well as the start of manufacturing its first production-intent aircraft at its facility in Marina, CA. Joby also shared in March that it had begun the fourth of five stages necessary to receive the Part 135 Certificate. The eVTOL developer initially applied for the certificate in June 2021.
For the remainder of 2022, Joby’s efforts will be geared towards three objectives, the representative explained: aircraft certification, scaling manufacturing, and preparing for commercial operations.
To support Joby’s pursuit of type certification for its aircraft, the company recently announced its acquisition of Avionyx, an aerospace software engineering firm. Through this acquisition, Joby will integrate Avionyx’s team with its own. Avionyx offers Joby extensive experience in software development and verification in accordance with the FAA’s airworthiness standards.
Joby’s spokesperson offered an update on manufacturing of its first production-intent aircraft: “We continue to make good progress with the majority of the large composite parts already manufactured and work underway on the tail and wing structural assemblies.”
“We will use the Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multi-modal ridesharing service,” the representative stated, “while also refining our procedures to ensure seamless journeys for our customers.”
Archer Aviation, another U.S. eVTOL developer, is in the process of working to complete the G-2 Means of Compliance with the FAA. Archer’s team expects to achieve this by the end of 2022. In a letter to shareholders, the company announced last year that “we anticipate receiving our Part 135 Certification, a critical certificate which is required for the commercial operations of our aircraft, in 2024.”
In addition to working towards FAA certification of its aircraft for operations in the U.S., Joby is collaborating with ANA HOLDINGS, the parent company of All Nippon Airways (ANA), to bring eVTOL operations to Japan. The joint efforts were announced earlier this year. Joby and ANA will coordinate for a range of activities including infrastructure development, pilot training, and air traffic management. The collaboration will also explore the regulatory requirements for operating Joby’s eVTOL in Japan.
Notice of correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Part 135 Certificate enables Joby to begin operations of its eVTOL aircraft. The article has been updated to clarify that the certificate enables Joby to begin operations of air taxis.