Cooperation to Democratize AAM Aircraft
AAM aircraft developer PLANA announced the delivery of 50 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to Japan. The company announced that it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with SkyTaxi(SoratobuTaxi Co., Ltd) for the hybrid eVTOL CP-01 currently under development. Additionally, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SkyTaxi for the development and operation of AAM aircraft. According to the company, the initial 10 aircrafts will be delivered in 2030, followed by an additional 40 by 2040.
SkyTaxi(SoratobuTaxi Co., Ltd) is a new company that was formed last year by the Daiho Taxi Group. The Daiho Taxi Group has been operating taxi companies in the Osaka region of Japan for almost a century. SkyTaxi was created to venture into the "air taxi" business. The company is currently training pilots, introducing new aircraft, and conducting operational tests. They are preparing to launch air routes that will connect Osaka's city centers, including Umeda and Namba, world heritage and sightseeing destination all over the Japan, as well as Kansai and Kobe airports. These routes are expected to be operational in time for the 2025 Osaka Expo. In the future, SkyTaxi plans to launch long-distance operations focused on the tourism industry, utilizing eVTOL aircraft. SkyTaxi stated that PLANA’s CP-01 was chosen due to its significantly longer flight range through the utilization of a hybrid approach.
Under the letter of intent and business agreement, PLANA and SkyTaxi will collaborate on the development of AAM aircraft, operational concepts, and interior design concepts that cater to the needs of 'air taxi' operators, market analysis, and demonstrations. It is also planned to develop cross-border AAM air routes utilizing the CP-01, which will be supplied by PLANA in the future.
"This collaborative project between PLANA and SkyTaxi will have a huge impact on the global AAM industry by players from Asia," said Mr. Takuto Hojo, CEO of SkyTaxi. "We are committed to developing the best business with PLANA so that we can be a model case for one of Asia's leading AAM industries."
"With the signing of this letter of intent and business cooperation, we have opened up a huge potential market in Japan, and for the first time in the world, we are looking at cross-border travel," said Braden J. Kim, the CEO of PLANA. "We will proceed with the development of the aircraft according to the roadmap we have designed and continue to develop more optimized utilization models by understanding the specificities of each country's market."