Japan Airlines (JAL) has signed an agreement with Volocopter after entering a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI) to promote and develop urban air mobility for passenger and goods transportation in Japan.
Through the partnership, all three companies have agreed to cooperate at developing air logistics of electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft to supply remote islands, mountainous areas, as well as reduce traffic in urban areas, Japan’s flag carrier said on September 29, 2020.
Volocopter, a German aircraft manufacturer, aims to create next-generation electrically powered air taxis and heavy-lift cargo drones for urban use. Both JAL and MSI have agreed to promote Volocopter’s products and to undertake market research, consultancy, commercialization, research and development, and to study social acceptance of eVTOL in Japan.
Japan Airlines also mentioned plans to develop medical care delivery in remote areas through air mobility services, an initiative that received official funding from the Tokyo government on September 1, 2020.
According to the press release, JAL and Volocopter will work to establish eVTOL social acceptance by promoting local partnerships and jointly approaching Japanese cities. The program will launch within the next three years, around the same time the airline’s new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) training program is set to finish.