Bell, Sumitomo Corp., JAL partner on air mobility

Bell, Sumitomo Corp., JAL partner on air mobility

To explore air mobility services opportunities in Asia using eVTOL.

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February 13, 2020

Bell Textron Inc., Sumitomo Corp., and Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. are partnering to explore Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and to foster the required infrastructure and regulatory environment. The collaboration will inform development of an on-demand air mobility ecosystem in Japan using Bell’s air mobility solutions including Bell’s Air Taxi, the Nexus 4EX electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

“We are excited to take this substantial step to bring together an international airline, a major infrastructure provider, and a VTOL original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to work collaboratively on a more connected mobility future,” said Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president of innovation. “While we are known for our 80 years of creating vertical lift aircraft that move people, goods, and data, we also want to help shape the operational infrastructure in which they will live.”

Sumitomo, a 100-year-old global enterprise based in Japan, is working to leverage its broad business portfolio spanning metal products, transportation and construction systems, infrastructure, media and digital, real estate, mineral resources, energy, and chemicals to support development of the necessary infrastructure and business use cases for air mobility.

“We have been inspired by Bell’s vision and their capability of penetrating into this urban air mobility market,” said Eiji Ishida, Sumitomo’s executive officer of lease, ship & aerospace business division. “All three companies bring a unique perspective, and we are excited to work together toward this new future.”

Japan Airlines (JAL), Japan’s first international airline, reaches 405 airports in 66 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of 238 aircraft.

Tomohiro Nishihata, Japan Airlines’ managing executive officer of innovation stated, “Japan Airlines is eager to explore the future of air travel beyond its existing framework, and we believe this is the right team to set the standard in Japan for future cities to implement urban air mobility systems.”

Together, these companies will develop policy and planning recommendations, identify entry into service use cases and pilot programs, and develop infrastructure requirements that integrate into both current and future transportation systems and city standards to provide safe, accessible, and sustainable multi-modal transportation system to our communities.