China hopes its homegrown C919 passenger jet will be able to compete with models like the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320

China-based EHang Holdings announced Tuesday that it will be expanding its operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to advance the development of urban air transportation and smart city management in the said country and the Middle East and North Africa region.

EHang, a Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle technology company, will join the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries (SAVI) cluster in Abu Dhabi, as well as partner with Wings Logistics Hub, which specializes in intelligent logistics, advanced air mobility, smart city initiatives and omnichannel solutions.

The collaboration between the Abu Dhabi-based company and EHang will facilitate local certification and operations of the EH216 series electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the UAE, including the EH216-S, EH216-L and EH216-F models.

Wings Logistics Hub, a technology arm of EIH Ethmar International Holding, is expected to buy 100 units of the EH216 series eVTOLs from EHang with initial deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2024.

"Introducing electric aviation to the UAE is anticipated to alleviate congestion with zero emissions and, consequently, attract significant foreign direct investment and generate thousands of jobs in the region over the next decade," Mohamed Al Dhaheri, board member of Wings Logistics Hub, said, according to WAM.

"We take pride in our participation in the SAVI Cluster and remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing smart and autonomous vehicle technologies for passenger transportation, mobility, logistics and smart city management in the UAE," he added.

Huazhi Hu, founder, CEO and chairman of EHang, also expressed his excitement for his company's involvement with the SAVI Cluster and Wings Logistics Hub, as it will help the Chinese firm to broaden its reach in the UAE market.

"As the first company globally to receive a type certificate for an autonomous eVTOL from China's national civil aviation authority, we're eager to bring our leading-edge technologies to the UAE. Our aim is to work with our local partner to enhance safe, intelligent, autonomous and eco-friendly air mobility in this region," Hu added.

In October 2023, SAVI was launched in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and was endorsed by Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. SAVI, which is led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, aims to make Abu Dhabi a key hub for smart and autonomous vehicles.