Joby Aviation breaks ground on expanded Monterey County production line

MARINA – Joby Aviation is expanding in the city of Marina, more than doubling its working space, adding hundreds of more jobs, and making the spot “one of the most important sites in the world as it relates to development and manufacturing of high-tech electric airplanes,” according to a president of the company.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for a new 220,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, expected to begin operations in 2025.

“The expansion will be more than twice all the total footprint Joby Aviation now has at Marina Airport,” said Didier Papadopoulos, president of aircraft OEM at Joby Aviation. “It’s a huge expansion that will allow Joby to deliver 25 aircraft a year.”

When Joby Aviation first came to the Marina Airport, it was a few dozen people. Six years later it is a few hundred people, said Papadopoulos. It has made its operations in Marina one of the most important sites in the world in the development and manufacturing of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, according to Papadopoulos.

Joby Aviation is developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald file) 

Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, currently in its “mega-tent” at the Marina Airport, is designed to specifically help Joby learn how to manufacture and optimize its manufacturing processes so it is able to scale to larger volumes.

Joby has designed and produced an electric air taxi that will carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds up to 200 mph offering high-speed mobility with a fraction of the noise produced by helicopters and zero operating emissions.

JoeBen Bivert, Joby Aviation founder and CEO, said his company is focused on creating the future.

Joby is different than just about any other aviation company in the world because of its vertical integration – designing, building, testing and manufacturing almost every component on the aircraft, he said.

The aviation company has testing facilities, which include its integrated test lab and its flight-testing capabilities in Marina. With the groundbreaking of its new facility at the airport, Joby will substantially increase what it can build in its pilot manufacturing line.

Toyota has been a catalyst in helping Joby with its manufacturing operations. Bevirt acknowledged that Toyota’s team in California and Japan have been vital to building the manufacturing processes and facilities and are deeply invested in Joby’s undertaking.

The expanded facility will also house a range of operations facilities, including an expanded pilot training and flight simulation center as well as aircraft maintenance facilities that are designed to support the scaling of Joby’s commercial operations

The expansion will be funded in part by the $9.8 million California Competes grant awarded to Joby by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development to support the company’s continued statewide expansion.

The 50th anniversary of the city of Marina is coming up, said Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado, and this building is bigger than any ever built in the city.

Delgado said that never before in the city’s history has a company come in and created as many jobs — and it is poised to add hundreds more — while bringing an additional $250 million to the regional economy.

“No one envisioned when the Army left us in 1995 (with the closure of Fort Ord) that their infantry, their mortars, their rockets, their ammunition and helicopters operating here, would be replaced by the most futuristic eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft the world’s ever seen,” said Delgado.

Bonnie Sims, Joby president of operations, said she is responsible for “developing the workforce of today and tomorrow, and the facilities to host them.”

The new facility Joby is building will not only allow it to manufacture more than double the aircraft it currently makes, but will also house other operations.

“One of the areas that I’m very excited about is our Maintenance Apprentice program,” said Sims. “We just received, because of the success of our Manufacturing Apprentice program, a half-million-dollar grant from the (Federal Aviation Administration) to develop a maintenance training program for maintenance jobs here in Marina.”

Joby has been doing business and developing a manufacturing facility in Marina for the past six years where it launched production of its aircraft at its Pilot Production Plant with the first aircraft rolling off the line in June 2023, to begin flight testing.

The second production prototype aircraft to roll off the company’s pilot production line was the backdrop for the ground-breaking ceremony.

The Marina facility is one of three in California with others at Santa Cruz — where the company is headquartered — and San Carlos. Joby Aviation also has a facility in Munich.

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In September, Joby announced it had selected Dayton, Ohio — beating out Marina and other contenders — as the location for its scaled manufacturing facility, capable of producing up to 500 electric vertical take-off and landing eVTOL aircraft per year, with plans to invest up to $500 million and create up to 2,000 high-quality, clean manufacturing jobs in the region. Construction of the scaled Ohio facility is expected to start this year and it is expected to come online in 2025.

In March, the company announced its acquisition of an existing facility at Dayton International Airport where it has begun hiring in support of its initial operations there. The facility acquired by Joby will be fitted out to support initial manufacturing operations in Dayton, which are expected to begin later this year. The facility will be used for the manufacturing of aircraft parts in support of Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina.

Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony for Joby Aviation’s Marina expansion was attended by local and regional stakeholders representing the city of Marina, Monterey County, Monterey Bay DART, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Mujeres en Accion, and many others.

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