Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) is aiming to launch an Air Taxi business using eVTOL* in FY 2025, and plans include a scenic flight to view the area around Yumeshima, the venue for the OSAKA-KANSAI World Exposition to be held in the same year, and an Air Taxi service connecting the venue and Kansai International Airport(KIX),etc.
At this time, JAL has been selected by the Osaka Prefectural Government to participate in the “Demonstration Test toward the Realization of eVTOL (hereinafter “the project”)”(*1), and will conduct a demonstration experiment using helicopters in Osaka.
Outline of the Demonstration Test:
Implementation period: November 2021 – February 2022
① Verification based on actual operation (scheduled for November 2021)
We will conduct actual helicopter flights over Yumeshima, the site of EXPO 2025 OSAKA, KANSAI, JAPAN, to investigate the constraints on the flight environment and ground facilities. This will lead to the establishment of a flight environment in which diverse aircraft can coexist.
② Verification of social acceptability (scheduled for February 2022)
In cooperation with Volocopter, GmbH (*2), which is participating in the Osaka Roundtable (*3) for the social implementation of eVTOL together with JAL, this virtual flight combines a helicopter flight scenery over Osaka with an in-flight view of eVTOL. In addition to making eVTOL feel familiar to many people, we will conduct a survey on customer expectations by conducting a questionnaire before and after experiencing a virtual flight, and utilize the results for the future realization of eVTOL in the Osaka area.
“eVTOL” is expected to play an active role in a wide range of fields, such as Air Taxi services, emergency
lifesaving and disaster response, taking advantage of its mobility similar to that of a helicopter. JAL will use the results obtained from this project in cooperation with the Osaka Roundtable to contribute to the realization and popularization of eVTOL, which Osaka aims to achieve
＊eVTOL :electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing: A small aircraft that can take off and land vertically by rotating multiple rotors with an electric motor. It attracts attention as a means of next-generation transporting that fuses drone and electric vehicle technologies.
Previously the airline made this announcement:
Japan Airlines and Volocopter Sign Agreement to Develop and Launch Air Mobility Services in Japan
Exploring Business Opportunities of Air Mobility Services in Japan Utilizing eVTOL
Japan Airlines (JAL) and Volocopter GmbH (Volocopter) entered into a cooperation agreement to promote the development of the urban air mobility industry for next generation air transportation options of passengers and goods.
VoloCity, air taxis for cities ©Volocopter
In February 2020, Japan Airlines Innovation Fund invested in Volocopter, which is aiming to create and bring next-generation electrically powered air taxis and heavy lift cargo drone technology to the market, as part of their Series C funding round. With this agreement, JAL and Volocopter will strengthen their partnership to jointly explore business opportunities for air mobility services, specifically Volocopter’s eVTOL technology, in Japan.
The agreement outlines that Volocopter and JAL work on permanent sustainable commercial operations of air taxis in Japan. By establishing local partnerships, jointly approaching Japanese cities and prefectures and working on market demand and social acceptance, JAL and Volocopter will prepare for commercial launch in Japan within the next 3 years.
VoloDrone, the sustainable heavy-lift drone ©JohnDeere / Volocopter
Volocopter GmbH, The pioneer in Urban Air Mobility, is developing urban air taxi services to add a new dimension of mobility to megacities. They are developing next-generation battery powered air taxis and heavy lift drones (eVTOL – electric Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft). In October 2019, Volocopter successfully performed a piloted flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay and is currently focused on receiving commercial certification for their VoloCity aircraft by the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency).
JAL will provide their in-depth knowledge accumulated via safe aircraft operation experience to a next-generation air mobility operation platform service. In addition, through air mobility services, JAL aims to deliver medical care in remote areas to achieve key sustainable development goals.