South Korean Advanced Air Mobilty (AAM) aircraft developer PLANA has announced the delivery of 50 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to Japan.
The company announced that it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Japan’s SkyTaxi (SoratobuTaxi Co., Ltd) for the hybrid eVTOL CP-01 aircraft which is currently under development.
Additionally, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SkyTaxi for the development and operation of AAM aircraft.
The move to air taxis
According to the company, the initial 10 aircraft will be delivered in 2030, followed by an additional 40 by 2040. SkyTaxi (SoratobuTaxi Co., Ltd) is a new company that was formed last year by the Daiho Taxi Group.
The Daiho Taxi Group has been operating taxi companies in the Osaka region of Japan for almost a century. SkyTaxi was created to venture into the “air taxi” business. The company is currently training pilots, introducing new aircraft, and conducting operational tests.
They are preparing to launch air routes that will connect Osaka’s city centers, including Umeda and Namba, world heritage and sightseeing destinations all over Japan, as well as Kansai and Kobe airports.
These routes are expected to be operational in time for the 2025 Osaka Expo. In the future, SkyTaxi plans to launch long-distance operations focused on the tourism industry, utilizing eVTOL aircraft.
CP-01 longer range capability
SkyTaxi stated that PLANA’s CP-01 was chosen due to its significantly longer flight range through the utilization of a hybrid approach.
Under the letter of intent and business agreement, PLANA and SkyTaxi will collaborate on the development of AAM aircraft, operational concepts, and interior design concepts that cater to the needs of ‘air taxi’ operators, market analysis, and demonstrations.
It is also planned to develop cross-border AAM air routes utilizing the CP-01, which will be supplied by PLANA in the future.
“This collaborative project between PLANA and SkyTaxi will have a huge impact on the global AAM industry by players from Asia,” said Mr. Takuto Hojo, CEO of SkyTaxi.
“We are committed to developing the best business with PLANA so that we can be a model case for one of Asia’s leading AAM industries.”
“With the signing of this letter of intent and business cooperation, we have opened up a huge potential market in Japan, and for the first time in the world, we are looking at cross-border travel,” said Braden J. Kim, the CEO of PLANA.
“We will proceed with the development of the aircraft according to the roadmap we have designed and continue to develop more optimized utilization models by understanding the specificities of each country’s market.”
What is Advanced Air Mobility?
Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) refers to the next generation of air transportation systems that will be more efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly than traditional aviation.
AAM is expected to revolutionize the way people and goods are transported by air, and to provide significant benefits in terms of speed, convenience, and accessibility.
AAM includes a range of emerging technologies such as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, hybrid-electric and electric airplanes, and autonomous aerial vehicles.
These vehicles are designed to operate in urban and suburban environments, providing on-demand transportation services for passengers and cargo.
The development of AAM is driven by the need to address the challenges of urban mobility, including traffic congestion, air pollution, and the growing demand for faster and more efficient transportation.
AAM is also seen as a key enabler of new business models and industries, such as aerial ride-sharing, package delivery, and urban air mobility services.
While AAM is still in its early stages of development, there are already several companies and organizations working on the technology, including established aerospace companies, startups, and government agencies.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States has been leading the regulatory efforts to ensure that AAM is safe, secure, and environmentally responsible.