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Wisk Aero is entering the Japanese market for advanced air mobility (AAM), announcing a partnership with Japan Airlines (JAL). The two companies will work together on the development of AAM operations using the Wisk aircraft as well as on joint maintenance. Wisk also enters Japanese eVTOL market with Japan Airlines.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that includes a framework for the collaboration between Wisk and JAL, but is extends to the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), and other Japanese government agencies.

JCAB is already collaborating with other eVTOL-makers Joby Aviation and Vertical Aerospace on the regulatory requirements, safety measures, and operations. What makes Wisk different is that it is developing an autonomously flying vehicle that has specific requirements. In October, Wisk unveiled Generation 6 of its vehicle that it will offer for certification to regulators.

The MOU framework covers research toward launching fleet operations, including type certification approval in Japan and maintenance, repair, and overhaul requirements through JAL Engineering. The agreement also includes the support of discussions with JCAB and other agencies. And it includes the establishment at a later stage of a Wisk operation under a Japanese Air Operators Certificate.

Vertical and Joby

Vertical Aerospace is also working with the Japanese regulators on the introduction of its VX-4 eVTOL in the country with its customer Marubeni. The company has already performed proof-of-concept demonstration flights with helicopters in preparation for the Osaka World Expo in 2025 when it hopes to operate the VX-4. Marubeni has pre-orders for 200 VX-4s and made a payment in January for a reservation of the first 25 production slots.

JAL’s rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced a partnership with Joby Aviation in February 2022 to introduce air taxis into Japan, including flight operations, pilot training, regulatory requirements, and public acceptance. This February, the Japan Association selected Joby and ANA to operate demonstration flights during the Osaka World Expo between the expo site and Osaka. Joby recently announced a technical agreement with Toyota.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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