Joby Avi­a­tion has tak­en the first step towards build­ing the first eVTOL air­line, by begin­ning the process to receive a Part 135 Air Car­ri­er Cer­tifi­cate issued by the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion (FAA).

A Part 135 Air Car­ri­er Cer­tifi­cate is required for Joby to oper­ate its rev­o­lu­tion­ary air­craft as an air taxi ser­vice in cities and com­mu­ni­ties around the Unit­ed States. Along­side a Type Cer­tifi­cate and Pro­duc­tion Cer­tifi­cate, this is one of three reg­u­la­to­ry approvals crit­i­cal to the planned launch of Joby’s all-elec­tric aer­i­al rideshar­ing ser­vice in 2024.

The com­pa­ny is now in the first of five stages nec­es­sary for Joby to achieve Part 135 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in 2022. It expects to start the next stage of the process in August, with the sub­mis­sion of addi­tion­al appli­ca­tion mate­ri­als includ­ing the full com­ple­ment of air­line oper­at­ing man­u­als.

Once that doc­u­men­ta­tion is approved, the FAA will vis­it Joby loca­tions to observe train­ing ses­sions and wit­ness flight oper­a­tions before issu­ing its final approval.

The process is led by Joby’s Head of Air Oper­a­tions, Bon­ny Simi. She said: “We’re excit­ed to reach this mile­stone on the path toward becom­ing the first eVTOL air­line in the world. We look for­ward to work­ing close­ly with the FAA as we pre­pare to wel­come pas­sen­gers to a new kind of air trav­el — one that is envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, qui­et enough to oper­ate close to cities and com­mu­ni­ties, and will save peo­ple valu­able time.” 

As Joby’s eVTOL air­craft is not expect­ed to receive its type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion until 2023, the com­pa­ny intends to oper­ate tra­di­tion­al, exist­ing, cer­ti­fied air­craft under the Part 135 air car­ri­er cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from 2022 before adding the Joby air­craft to the air­line oper­at­ing cer­tifi­cate once it is cer­ti­fied.

Last year, Joby agreed to a ‘G‑1’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion basis with the FAA for its air­craft in line with exist­ing Part 23 require­ments for Nor­mal Cat­e­go­ry Air­planes, with spe­cial con­di­tions intro­duced to address require­ments spe­cif­ic to Joby’s unique air­craft. In line with this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion approach, Joby will employ com­mer­cial air­line pilots licensed under exist­ing FAA reg­u­la­tions to fly its pas­sen­ger ser­vice.

Joby’s air oper­a­tions team includes numer­ous avi­a­tion indus­try vet­er­ans with exten­sive expe­ri­ence. They include Kellen Mol­la­han, a for­mer MV-22 pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, as assis­tant direc­tor of oper­a­tions.

Matthew Lykins, an expert main­te­nance safe­ty inspec­tor and audi­tor, avion­ics tech­ni­cian and pilot with more than 30 years of expe­ri­ence, is direc­tor of main­te­nance while Peter Wil­son, for­mer lead test pilot for the F‑35B pro­gram with more than 35 years of flight test and instruc­tor expe­ri­ence, is direc­tor of flight stan­dards and train­ing. The team also includes Jill Wil­son, an avi­a­tion safe­ty leader who has held roles at Embraer, XO Jet and Cape Air.

Joby is designed to trans­port a pilot and four pas­sen­gers with zero oper­a­tion emis­sions. The air­craft has a range of 150 miles and can trav­el at speeds up to 200 mph.

Ear­li­er this week, the com­pa­ny’s full-scale pro­to­type com­plet­ed a trip of more than 150 miles on a sin­gle charge — in what is believed to be the longest eVTOL flight to date.