ANA Holdings, the parent of Japan’s largest airline All Nippon Airways, has partnered with US-based startup Joby Aviation to offer air taxi services in Japan.
This tie-up will see Joby developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with a top speed of 200mph and a maximum range of 241km.
The five-seater aircraft is said to be emissions-free with a low noise profile.
Using the aircraft, a 50km travel between Osaka station and Kansai International Airport (KIX) could take below 15 minutes to complete.
Joby and the Japanese carrier will partner on pilot training, air traffic management, infrastructure development, flight operations and regulatory requirements.
In addition, the companies will have joint talks with governments and private firms in this regard.
Toyota Motor Corporation is also part of the alliance and will support ground-based transportation.
Notably, Joby has been working with Toyota since 2019, with the latter having infused around $400m in the taxi startup so far to become its largest outside investor.
ANA HD representative director and executive vice-president Koji Shibata said: “Our customers value efficiency very highly, so being able to provide them with the option to travel rapidly and sustainably from an international airport to a downtown location is very appealing.”
The latest move reflects Joby’s plan to roll out its aerial ride-sharing service in select markets outside the US by partnering with local firms.
The concept of this service has picked up pace in Japan, especially with the country set to host the 2025 World Expo.
California-based Joby will directly operate its air taxi service and provide it to travellers through the Joby app or Uber app in core markets across the US.
The firm plans to start offering its service in 2024.
Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “Joby exists to help people save time while reducing their carbon footprint.
“Japan offers us a spectacular opportunity to do just that with 92% of the population living in urban areas and Tokyo registering as one of the top 20 most congested cities in the world.”