Airbus to Bring Its CityAirbus eVTOL and SAF-Powered Helicopters to Saudi Arabia

THC plans to add eVTOLs to its fleet of Airbus helicopters 7 photos
Photo: The Helicopter Company
CityAirbus NextGenTHC Helicopter FleetTHC Helicopter FleetTHC Helicopter FleetTHC Helicopter FleetTHC Helicopter Fleet
The times when electric aircraft (air taxis) and conventional aircraft using sustainable fuel (SAF) will become the norm are getting closer. For the past few years, plenty of aviation companies have presented their innovative eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) concepts, and, on the other hand, important steps were taken towards the large-scale use of SAF. These two developments are about to reshape air transportation, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is getting ready for that.
The Helicopter Company (THC) is the only helicopter operator that’s licensed for commercial flights in Saudi Arabia, and it was the first of its kind when the Public Investment Fund (PIF) established it. The company recently added 20 five-bladed H145s and six ACH160s to its fleet of H125 helicopters, but it's ready to go even further than that. Through a recent agreement, Airbus and THC have set the foundation for future decarbonizing efforts regarding helicopter operations.

This includes two main directions, one of them being the use of SAF for the Airbus helicopters operated by THC. The other one is part of a larger plan to develop an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem in Saudi Arabia through the introduction of eVTOLs. Both parties will work with the local aviation regulatory authorities for the safe and efficient implementation of these two projects. And the goal is to use SAF-powered helicopters and eVTOLs for a multitude of operations, from business aviation and eco-tourism to emergency services.

After several years of research and development, Airbus introduced its eVTOL prototype in September 2021. Called the CityAirbus NextGen, the four-seat multicopter concept features a fixed-wing, a V-shaped tail, and is equipped with eight propellers and a distributed propulsion system.

One of its main characteristics is that it doesn’t require tilting parts for transitioning from hover to cruise. Quiet and emissions-free, the CityAirbus can reach a speed of 120 kph (74.5 mph), offering a range of 80 km (almost 50 miles).
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various Airbus helicopters and the CityAirbus NextGen concept.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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