Japan’s second biggest air carrier, Japan Airlines (JAL), reportedly aims to launch commercial electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) operations in fiscal year 2025. 

The Tokyo-based airline will partner with German startup Volocopter for its planned eVTOL commercial operations. JAL has signed a cooperation agreement with Mie Prefecture, in the south of the island of Honshu, to start test flights and eventually commercialize the service that would carry people around various destinations as taxis do, according to Nikkei Asia. 

In September 2020, JAL invested in Volocopter, which is aiming to create and bring electrically powered air taxis and heavy lift cargo drone technology to the market. With this agreement, JAL and Volocopter said they would strengthen their partnership to jointly explore business opportunities for air mobility services, specifically Volocopter’s eVTOL technology, in Japan.

Volocopter started developing its vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in 2011.The drone-like aircraft called VoloCity, is a two seater eVTOL with a cruising range of 35 kilometers and a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour. According to Volocopter, the eVTOL is being developed in line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requirements. 

Volocopter has already conducted the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2017 and continued with public test flights at Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019.

AeroTime News reached out to Japan Airlines for comment and did not receive an answer at the time of publication.