Avolon has signed a deal to sell or lease up to 100 Vertical Aerospace electric air taxis to Japan Air Lines (JAL), the latest partnership in the burgeoning urban air mobility space.
The plans for an electric ride sharing partnership in Japan were announced by Avolon on October 20, 2021.
The lessor said that under the partnership, JAL has a right to purchase or lease up to 50 Vertical VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon’s orderbook. JAL also has an option to purchase or lease up to 50 more aircraft.
The air taxis are planned to start operating in time for the Osaka Kansai EXPO in 2025.
The market for electric taxis is picking up steam, with a raft of announcements in recent months from companies such as Volocopter, Joby, Airbus and Embraer.
Avolon is the launch customer for the electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from manufacturer Vertical Aerospace, having signed a $2 billion order for up to 500 of the vehicles on June 10, 2021.
On September 21, lessor Avolon unveiled a deal with low-cost carrier GOL for a ride-sharing network.
On October 20, 2021, Avolon said that the JAL partnership will “identify and target local partners and customers, infrastructure requirements, certification, and a range of commercial models to introduce one of the world’s first eVTOL ride sharing businesses in Japan.”
JAL’s expertise will help the VA-X4 as it seeks certification with Japanese authorities, the companies said in the press release.
“The VA-X4 will be certified to CAA and EASA’s stringent safety regulations,” Avolon chief executive Domhal Slattery said. “We believe JAL’s multi-decade experience will prove invaluable as Vertical seeks type certificate validation with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, demonstrating that the VA-X4 will be a global eVTOL, unconstrained by borders.”