(08 September 2022, 11:36 +07) Airbus has partnered with Hiratagakuen, a Japanese helicopter operator, to develop advanced air mobility services in the Kansai region and beyond.
Hiratagakuen specialises in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), transportation of personnel, flight training and maintenance. The company’s current fleet includes 14 H135 and two H145 helicopters.
Through this agreement, Airbus and Hiratagakuen plan to tackle the challenges envisaged in launching a commercial transportation service with CityAirbus NextGen.
As a major first step, the partners’ joint project to organise a simulation of ideal routes, concepts of operations and necessary equipment for safe eVTOL flights in the Kansai region, has been selected by the Osaka prefecture, with a demonstration flight scheduled for later this year.
The two companies will use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operations of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s flight configuration.
Mitsuhiro Hirata, Vice President, Aviation Operation Division of Hiratagakuen, said, “We are very pleased to conduct a demonstration flight in the Osaka-Kansai region with Airbus for the future of mobility, using the latest H135 helicopter. We have been operating Airbus helicopters for many years and highly appreciate their high safety, performance, operational reliability and proven after-sales support. We are aware that a revolution in air transportation is now approaching in the Osaka area, and we expect CityAirbus NextGen to play a central role in this revolution.”
In September 2021, Airbus unveiled its eVTOL prototype CityAirbus NextGen, to explore advanced air mobility technologies and bring urban air mobility services to life. The company is also constructing a dedicated centre to test the aircraft’s systems in the lead up to its maiden flight.
Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Strategy Execution and Partnerships at Airbus, said, “We are honoured to further our long standing collaboration with Hiratagakuen by working on this exciting journey towards zero emission flights. Their expertise in commercial air transport and air medical services operations makes them an ideal partner for defining the operational framework for advanced air mobility with CityAirbus NextGen in Japan.”
There are currently over 370 Airbus helicopters in service in Japan with 100 customers.
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