JAL, Volocopter plan air taxis in Japan

  • October 6, 2020
  • William Payne

Japan Airlines (JAL) and German firm Volocopter are cooperating to develop air taxi services in Japan to begin passenger services by 2024.

The two firms plan to establish local partnerships with Japanese cities and prefectures, and develop market acceptance and demand for air taxi services. JAL and Volocopter are planning to launch commercial air taxi services in Japan in the next three years.

A technical basis for the partnership is Volocopter’s eVTOL electric vertical take-off and landing technology. The company is developing air taxis and heavy lift drones based on emerging battery technologies.

In October 2019, Volocopter performed a piloted flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay. It is currently attempting to achieve commercial certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

JAL is planning on using the proposed taxi services not only for passenger flight, but also to deliver medical care to remote areas.

The two companies are also joined in the collaboration by Japanese insurance provider Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, and by business development firm MS&AD InterRisk Research and Consulting.