ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, has partnered with eVTOL start-up Joby to bring an aerial ridesharing service to Japan.
California-based company Joby is developing an all-electric, five-seat aircraft with a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 miles per hour. The piloted aircraft aims to make “convenient, emissions-free air travel an everyday reality”, and has a low noise profile which would allow it to access built-up areas.
According to Joby, the aircraft would be capable of reducing a one-hour car journey from Kansai International airport to Osaka station to less than 15 minutes.
With Japan set to host the 2025 World Expo in Osaka, the concept of electric air taxis has been gaining momentum in the country.
The two companies plan to collaborate on the development of infrastructure, pilot training, flight operations, public acceptance and the regulatory requirements to operate the aircraft. They have not yet provided a launch date for the service or details on how customers would access it.
Toyota has also joined the partnership, providing support on the manufacturing process development and high-volume production, and intends to explore opportunities such as the integration with ground-based transportation to create a seamless end-to-end journey for customers.
Founder and CEO of Joby, JoeBen Bevirt, commented:
“Joby exists to help people save time while reducing their carbon footprint. Japan offers us a spectacular opportunity to do just that with 92% of the population living in urban areas and Tokyo registering as one of the top 20 most congested cities in the world.”
We’re humbled to be working with ANA, an airline that has deservedly been awarded SKYTRAX’s 5-Star rating nine years in a row. We couldn’t imagine a better partner to work with in Japan.”
Joby has completed over 1,000 test flights and become the first eVTOL company to sign a G-1 (stage 4) Certification Basis for its aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which lays out a path to certifying the aircraft for commercial flights.
Koji Shibata, representative director and executive vice president at ANA HD, added:
“ANA has 70 years of experience delivering safe and reliable flights to customers across the world. We’re proud to bring that operational experience to the table as part of this partnership and to be at the forefront of introducing this revolutionary form of transport to Japan.
“Our customers value efficiency very highly, so being able to provide them with the option to travel rapidly – and sustainably – from an international airport to a downtown location is very appealing.”
The companies are existing members of the Public-Private Conference for the Future Air Mobility Revolution, established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to accelerate the adoption of aerial ridesharing in Japan.
Meanwhile last year Japan Airlines announced plans to launch commercial flights using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in 2025.
Two of Brazil’s largest carriers have also announced plans for eVTOL fleets: