California-based Wisk Aero and Japan Airlines (JAL), an international airline and Japan’s flag carrier and largest airline as of 2022 have teamed up to bring the Wisk self-flying all-electric air taxi service to Japan. In addition, Wisk and JAL Engineering (JALEC) will work closely together to develop maintenance and operations programs for Wisk’s autonomous air taxis.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed, establishing a framework for cooperation between the two companies, as well as between the two companies and the Japanese Civil Aviation Authority (JCAB) and other relevant Japanese government agencies. This will include careful consideration of regulatory requirements, safety measures, and how the community can benefit from advanced air mobility through the use of Wisk’s 6th generation electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), self-flying aircraft.
The new collaboration is complex, unfolding on multiple levels. Obtaining type certification approval in Japan is only the primary layer. The companies will also establish a framework for future maintenance, repair, and overhaul requirements. Wisk and JAL are planning to initiate demonstration flights in Japan, although no official deadline has been set up yet.
Japan Airlines and Wisk share a commitment to safety, sustainability, and responsibility. This partnership represents the amalgamation of these shared values to develop a sustainable approach to the introduction of future autonomous air taxi operations as part of Japan’s future integrated transport layer.
“Japan represents a large, densely populated market where air taxi services can provide a real, positive impact for local communities,” says Catherine MacGowan, Wisk’s APAC Regional Director. “We look forward to further pursuing the potential introduction of our self-flying, all-electric air taxis in Japan and are encouraged by the growing interest within the broader APAC region for these types of services.”