Supernal LLC – Hyundai Motor Group’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company – announced a strategic partnership with Korean Air to help accelerate the design of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle and the development of the AAM ecosystem in South Korea. The collaboration adds to a growing list of Supernal partnerships that are advancing its mission to make AAM an efficient and reliable option for everyday transportation needs.
The companies will engage in a variety of activities as part of the partnership, including exchanging technical data and jointly participating in workshops and programs to help develop an AAM ecosystem that will support safe eVTOL operations. As part of the agreement, Korean Air will provide insights about Korean-market requirements and AAM aircraft specifications, informing Supernal’s product and market development strategies. The companies will also explore ways to effectively test the operation of Supernal’s eVTOL vehicle and AAM infrastructure networks.
“A core part of our strategy to advance Advanced Air Mobility is the need for robust collaboration and partnerships with industry leaders like Korean Air,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “Korean Air’s expertise in building scalable aviation systems, together with Supernal’s vision for mobility, will help usher in this exciting new era of air travel and bring us closer to global AAM operations.”
The ways in which Korea plans to operate AAM in the country highlight the importance of this partnership. Unique to Korea, the Korean government plans to utilise 5G and LTE mobile communication capabilities to enable the seamless flow of information and communication by pilots. The Korean government also plans to create dedicated AAM operating corridors separate from helicopters and other low-level airspace users. These corridors will be customised for safe and efficient flight between vertiports, maximising the efficiency of AAM routes and minimising any interaction between eVTOL and other aircraft types.
As South Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air has been a key player in developing the country’s aviation industry and is expected to do the same for AAM, including by providing input to Supernal on passenger experience and operations.
“We will cooperate in deriving requirements for eVTOL aircraft optimized for UAM operations based on Korean Air’s accumulated data on aircraft operation and customer boarding experience,” said Keehong Woo, CEO, Korean Air. “Based on this, we will strive to develop a business model and build an operating ecosystem suitable for Korea’s environment.”
Elements that Supernal plans to develop as part of a global AAM ecosystem include aftermarket products and services, interconnected mobility solutions, physical and digital infrastructure networks, and solutions for establishing and expanding an industry workforce. The company is focused on building a robust AAM ecosystem that will enable the industry to reach expected demand in the coming decades, with a goal to integrate eVTOL vehicles into existing transportation networks.