Airbus prepares its AAM eVTOL aircraft for operation in Japan


Aviation giant Airbus is expanding its efforts to develop advanced air mobility (AAM) and air taxi services with a project to prepare for operation of its CityAirbus NextGen (eVTOL) electric take-off and landing machine in Japan.

Airbus said Work to prepare its CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL for AAM and air taxi use in the Kansai region of Japan will take place through a partnership with Hiratagakuen, a leading helicopter service provider . Under the Osaka Prefecture-approved activity, the companies will plot and test optimal flight routes, establish operational and safety systems, and hold a demonstration flight before the end of the year.

In addition to continuing preparatory work – and airspace preparation – for AAM transport, Airbus says the partnership will explore other types of uses for its eVTOL aircraft, including medical activities, emergency response emergency, ecotourism, a variety of public services and flights beyond the urban. limitations of most air taxi operations.

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As part of this exploratory project, Hiratagakuen will use one of its H135 helicopters to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for the safe operation of eVTOL vehicles in urban environments, and simulate the flight configuration of CityAirbus NextGen .

The current prototype of the piloted three-passenger fixed-wing CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL was unveiled in September. The company hopes to begin test flights in 2023 and, in anticipation of that, has rolled out initiatives to prepare for next-generation air mobility in Italy and Germany.

Read more: UAM partnership to promote Airbus eVTOL air taxis in Italy

Expanding these AAM businesses into Japan is a logical step for Airbus, which hopes to turn its past success in traditional air travel into equally productive eVTOL AAM and air taxi sales. Over the past 60 years, the manufacturer has delivered more than 600 fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft to Japanese operators, including Hiratagakuen.

Along with the United States and European Union countries, Airbus sees Japan as one of its most promising markets for next-generation aircraft.

“We are honored to continue our long-standing collaboration with Hiratagakuen working on this exciting journey towards zero-emission flights,” said Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Strategy Execution and Partnerships, Airbus. “Their expertise in commercial air transport and air medical services operations makes them an ideal partner to define the operational framework for advanced air mobility with CityAirbus NextGen in Japan.”

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