ANA signs deal with US firm to launch flying taxis in Japan
Tokyo, Feb 15 (EFE).- The ANA Group, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, announced on Tuesday that it had formed an alliance with United States-based Joby Aviation to launch a flying taxi service in Japan.
ANA and Joby would work together on “all aspects” of the new mode of transport, ranging from developing infrastructure to pilot training, flight operations and adherence to operating regulations, the two firms said in a statement.
The US company has been developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with potential for urban use, and aims to launch its first commercial service by 2024.
The Joby prototype is a five-seater vehicle capable of covering 241 kilometers with a maximum speed of 321 kph, which would allow it to cover the 50-kms distance between the Kansai international airport and the Osaka station, in western Japan, in less than 15 minutes, the statement said in an example.
The trip currently takes around one hour in car or public transport.
Japan offers a “spectacular opportunity” to test the efficiency of such mobility services in saving time and reduce emissions, “with 92 percent of the population living in urban areas and Tokyo registering as one of the top 20 most congested cities in the world,” Joby’s founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said.
The representative director and vice-president of ANA, Koji Shibata, said that the company was proud to “bring to the table” such a service and “to be at the forefront of introducing this revolutionary form of transport to Japan.”
The two companies are set to carry out joint negotiations with “relevant private companies” as well as national and regional governments to make the service operational.
ANA is the second major Japanese company to tie up with Joby, which had already received a $400 million investment in 2020 from the world’s leading carmaker Toyota, which is also involved in the partnership announced on Tuesday.
Japan has for years been working on a roadmap for introducing flying vehicles, having already established committees during the past decade to study the practical uses of these aircrafts, promoting investments and approving regulations in this regard, with the objective of allowing their use by the initial years of the 2020s. EFE