Air taxi services coming to Japan

10 May 2023
Wisk Aero’s sixth generation, four-seat air taxi will be used as an introduction to eVTOL flights in the Japanese national airspace. Source: Wisk Aero

Air taxi startup Wisk Aero has signed an agreement with passenger travel giant Japan Airlines (JAL) to bring autonomous all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) services to Japan.

The two companies will develop plans for the maintenance and operation of Wisk’s autonomous air taxis and will work toward bringing autonomous everyday flights using Wisk Aero’s air taxis to the public. Additionally, the agreement will further advance advanced air mobility (AAM) in the Asia-Pacific region, the companies said.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the companies, the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and other Japanese government agencies to develop regulatory requirements, safety measures and how the community can benefit from AAM using Wisk’s sixth-generation eVTOL aircraft.

The sixth-generation aircraft is a four-seat air taxi that has a 90-mile range, a 120-knot cruising speed and can fly at altitudes of 2,500 ft to 4,000 ft.

Specifically, the MOU establishes:

  • Research for fleet operations such as certification approval, maintenance, repair and overhaul requirements.
  • Establishment of Wisk operations under an air operators’ certificate in Japan in the future.
  • Development of a path to a demonstration flight in Japan.
  • Introduction of autonomous aircraft into the Japanese national airspace system.

Japan is one of numerous countries developing air taxi services as part of the future of air travel transportation. The country is looking to bring these aircraft to its 2025 World Expo being held in Osaka, Japan.

The country will use five or six air taxi vendors and will be the main attraction at the Expo. The air taxis, capable of carrying two to five people each, will have eight air taxi routes connecting eight different destinations in Japan and serving as a transportation method to ferry passengers to the event.

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