Volocopter furthers push for air taxis at Japan’s 2025 Expo

22 February 2023
Volocopter is working to get its VoloCity air taxi certified and supported in time for the 2025 Expo Osaka Kansai. Source: Volocopter

Volocopter wants to have its VoloCity air taxi available for use at the 2025 Expo Osaka Kansai and took further steps to make this a reality this week with new investments and certification.

Specifically, Japanese electronics giant Sumitomo Corp. has invested in the company as part of its Series E funding round and has become a key strategic partner for entry into the Japanese market, Volocopter said.

Also, Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has accepted Volocopter’s application for concurrent type certification (TC) for its VoloCity air taxi. The acceptance of the TC by the JCAB allows the fully electric air taxi to fly commercially in Japan and follows acceptance by the European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) for European commercial flight.

“Committing to fly and enter a market is no small feat, but for Volocopter and Japan, who are both pioneers in the UAM space, it just makes sense,” said Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer at Volocopter. “Over the past few years, Volocopter has made significant progress toward becoming an integral part of the team that will bring UAM to life in Japan in 2025, thanks to partners like Sumitomo, EASA, and JCAB who share our vision. I cannot wait to see the public reaction to the VoloCity air taxi being unveiled in Osaka for the first time.”

Full scale model

Volocopter said it plans to unveil a full-scale static model of the VoloCity air taxi for the first time in Osaka, Japan, in March.

The plan is to increase public awareness of air taxis and hopefully gain momentum in public acceptance of the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The Expo

Japan revealed last year that it planned to establish eight air taxi routes connecting eight different destinations in Japan as a transportation method to ferry passengers to the event.

The project will be one of the first ever to establish an air taxi network for transporting passengers.

The potential locations include the Osaka Bay area, Osaka International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Kobe Airport Awaji Island and direct and scenic routes are also being discussed. Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is said to develop a framework and plan to use the World Expo to show the viability of flying cars this year.

Recently, Joby signed a partnership with Ana Holdings, one of the largest airlines in Japan, to explore the viability of aerial ridesharing. The air taxis could be part of the World Expo.

Japan Airlines has also joined forces with Volocopter to start aerial ridesharing and now with Sumitomo aboard, it will be at the show. Additionally, SkyDrive, which showcased its Model SD-03 air taxi at last year’s CES 2022, will likely participate.

Paris Olympics

While the Expo 2025 will be a big showcase for air taxis, the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will also be a testing ground but on a smaller scale.

The Olympics will focus on two lines: First, between the Paris-Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport and the Saint-Cyr airfield; and second, between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and Paris city.

Participating air taxi vendors at the Olympics include Volocopter, Airbus, Vertical Aerospace and Ascendance, Lilium and Joby Aviation.

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