Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that it has signed a new agreement with Volocopter to promote the development of the urban air mobility industry for next-generation air transportation options of passengers and goods.
In February, the Japan Airlines Innovation Fund invested in Volocopter, which is aiming to create and bring next-generation electrically powered air taxis and heavy lift cargo drone technology to the market, as part of their Series C funding round. With this new agreement, JAL and Volocopter will strengthen their partnership to jointly explore business opportunities for air mobility services, specifically Volocopter’s eVTOL technology, in Japan.
The agreement outlines that Volocopter and JAL work on permanent sustainable commercial operations of air taxis in Japan. By establishing local partnerships, jointly approaching Japanese cities and prefectures and working on market demand and social acceptance, JAL and Volocopter will prepare for commercial launch in Japan within the next three years.
Volocopter is developing urban air taxi services to add a new dimension of mobility to megacities. They are developing next-generation battery powered air taxis and heavy lift drones (eVTOL – electric Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft). In October 2019, Volocopter successfully performed a piloted flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay and is currently focused on receiving commercial certification for their VoloCity aircraft by the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency).
JAL, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, and MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, which are all invested in Volocopter, also announced a collaboration to accelerate Volocopters entry into the Japanese market. The collaboration of airline operator, insurance provider, and business development partners, as well as an urban air mobility pioneer makes this approach a sustainable and promising one.
Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 150 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. The company is managed by CEO Florian Reuter, CTO Dr Arnaud Coville, CFO Rene Griemens, and CCO Christian Bauer, and has raised a total of 122 million euros in equity. Volocopter‘s investors include Daimler, Geely, DB Schenker, Intel Capital, Team Europe, btov, Micron, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, TransLink Capital (Japan Airlines and Sompo Japan Insurance), MS&AD Ventures, and Manta Ray Ventures.