Japan is establishing eight flying taxis routes for the 2025 Osaka World Expo
- Flying taxis planned for the 2025 Osaka World Expo in Japan will soon have routes connecting to eight possible destinations, with roughly 20 flights per hour.
- Manufacturers and other operators will be selected soon and contracts will be awarded to multiple candidates in vehicle development and operation.
- Possible destinations in Osaka; the Osaka Bay area; Osaka International Airport, or Itami Airport; and Kansai International Airport. Destinations in Kobe include the city and Kobe Airport.
Last year it was announced that in four years time, during the 2025 Osaka World Expo in Japan, the world will witness its first flying taxis. Now, in what would be Japan’s first flying-taxi network, routes to eight possible destinations, with roughly 20 flights per hour, are being established.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, a working group led by the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been exploring the proposal since this fiscal year. “The flying cars would connect Yumeshima — Osaka’s artificial island and the site of the World Expo — to airports and other locations in and around Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto,” the report stated.
It is also reported that possible destinations in Osaka include the city; the Osaka Bay area; Osaka International Airport, or Itami Airport; and Kansai International Airport. Destinations in Kobe include the city and Kobe Airport. Other potential locations are Awaji Island near Kobe and the region surrounding Kyoto and Ise-Shima
To recall, last year, Tokyo-based startup SkyDrive Inc. signed a partnership agreement with the Osaka Prefectural Government to have a fleet of flying cars up and running for use in the World Expo 2025 in the Osaka region. SkyDrive’s CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa is convinced that by 2050 anyone will be able to fly to any destination within the capital’s 23 wards in 10 minutes.
More manufacturers and operators will also be selected soon, this year, and contracts will be awarded to multiple candidates in vehicle development and operation. Nikkei said that the project will also select candidates who will manage takeoff and landing grounds. Routes and fares will be determined after talks between operators and the association.
In a 2019 research by Morgan Stanley, analysts claim that the global demand for electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) is set to reach US$1.5 trillion by around 2040. Although we are still far away from that figure, there has been quite a buzz on this next-generation vehicle lately.
Within Japan alone, the parent of Japan’s largest airline All Nippon Airways, ANA Holdings, has partnered with US-based startup Joby Aviation last month to offer air taxi services in the country. Joby will be developing an eVTOL aircraft, with a top speed of 200mph and a maximum range of 241km, under the agreement.
With the five-seater aircraft that is said to be emissions-free with a low noise profile, a 50km trip between Osaka station and Kansai International Airport (KIX) could take below 15 minutes to complete. Joby and the Japanese carrier will also partner on pilot training, air traffic management, infrastructure development, flight operations and regulatory requirements.
Apart from Japan, France will begin also testing electric air taxis in coming months at a hub outside Paris with the goal of having two dedicated flight paths to ferry passengers in time for the 2024 summer Olympics.
Volocopter GmbH, Airbus SE, Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd, Lilium NV and Joby Aviation are among aircraft developers participating in the project along with France’s civil aviation authority.