Airbus is partnering with Japanese helicopter operator Hiratagakuen to develop advanced air mobility services in the Kansai region and beyond. According to Airbus, the agreement is a key addition to the company’s strong regional footprint and growing international network to pioneer the future of mobility.

Through this agreement, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will address the crucial aspects necessary to launch a commercial transport service with CityAirbus NextGen.

As a first major step, the partners’ joint project to organize 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.

With the aim of implementing air mobility services beyond urban environments, the joint work of Airbus and Hiratagakuen will support the development of advanced air mobility solutions with CityAirbus NextGen, for use cases ranging from medical services airlines to commercial air transport and ecotourism in a variety of operational contexts. To achieve this goal, and with the support of local stakeholders, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operation of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating the flight configuration of CityAirbus NextGen.

Hiratagakuen is a Kansai-based helicopter operator specializing in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), personnel transport, flight training and maintenance. The company’s current fleet includes 14 H135 and two H145 helicopters.

In September 2021, Airbus unveiled its eVTOL CityAirbus NextGen prototype, to explore advanced air mobility technologies and bring urban air mobility services to life. The company recently announced the construction of a dedicated center to test the aircraft’s systems before its maiden flight.

Airbus is also working closely with industrial and institutional partners to lead the development of urban air mobility ecosystems, as recently announced with ITA Airways in Italy, or through the launch of the Air Mobility Initiative in Germany.

The relationship between Airbus and Japan goes back 60 years. Over 600 commercial and fixed wings and rotorcraft have so far been delivered to Japanese operators.

Airbus is the Japanese helicopter market leader with more than 50% market share in the civil and parapublic sectors, and more than 370 helicopters in service with 100 customers. In Kobe, Airbus helicopter facilities offer a full range of helicopter products, training services and turnkey solutions for emergency medical services, law enforcement, crime collection electronic news and parapublic segments.


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