Volocopter has taken a key step toward certification of its VoloCity eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft in Japan.

The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has accepted the company’s application for concurrent type certification with EASA in Japan, paving the way for the two-seater VoloCity to operate at the 2025 Expo Osaka Kansai event, says Volocopter.

JAL Volocopter Japan

Source: Volocopter

An artist’s impression of VoloCity air taxis over Tokyo

In addition to Japan, Volocopter is also pursuing concurrent certification with the US FAA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

“This is an important milestone in the development of relations between Japan and Europe in the field of new aviation technologies,” says EASA director Patrick Ky.

“EASA is proud partnering with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and supporting the development of the [urban air mobility] industry in Japan and share with JCAB its experience with its SC-VTOL regulations in the certification process of VoloCity.”

VoloCopter has also secured Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation as an investor, with the Japanese conglomerate investing in Volocopter’s E funding round. Sumitomo will also be a partner for VoloCity’s Japan service entry.

Volocopter is also involved with Japan Airlines (JAL). In September 2020, JAL said it was working wtih Volocopter to develop the air taxi business in Japan. In February 2020, the Japan Airlines Innovation Fund invested in Volocopters C funding round. 

“Committing to fly and enter a market is no small feat, but for Volocopter and Japan, who are both pioneers in the UAM space, it just makes sense,” says Volocopter chief commercial officer Christian Bauer.

“Over the past few years, Volocopter has made significant progress toward becoming an integral part of the team that will bring UAM to life in Japan in 2025, thanks to partners like Sumitomo, EASA, and JCAB who share our vision.”

Volocopter is preparing the VoloCity for a major certification push, with an eye to achieving EASA certification in 2024.

In a recent interview with FlightGlobal, Volocopter chief executive Dirk Hoke said VoloCity certification work with EASA is on track.

Volocopter is producing a trio of two-seat VoloCity platforms that will be ready in the coming months, and enter a certification campaign in July. Initially the aircraft will fly with just a pilot, but a passenger will be added by the end of 2023.