South Korean former engineering part manufacturing company MintAir and US gyroplane developer Skyworks Aeronautics have formed a consortium with food and beverage, retail, chemical and hotel company Lotte Corporation, vehicle rental company Lotte Rental and electric battery developer Mobius.Energy to establish runway-independent, electric air mobility passenger and cargo capability in the Incheon region of South Korea.
Seoul-based Lotte Corporation was established in 1967 and has over 90 affiliates across more than 30 countries, while Lotte Rental plans to develop a ground mobility platform offering transport and rental assets based on customer data from its 40 million members and customers.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for us, to partner with a leading city in South Korea that has a very progressive and comprehensive vision for establishing electrified UAM aircraft,” says Skyworks CEO John E Michel. “Our goal is to be the first in the world to demonstrate compelling UAM capabilities with eGyro flights for the maximum range with full payload within the country of Korea. It is ambitious and exhilarating, and we have just the team to achieve this notable endeavour.”
The project will include all necessary certification and infrastructure development to support flight testing and the commercial launch of an eGyro UAM service. Mobius' energy-dense electric battery technology will be used to achieve maximum range flight with full payload, essential for the certification of electric aircraft and the commercial deployment of UAM services.
Additionally, the consortium intends to develop a pilot training programme as well as maintenance and repair capabilities in order to support efficient, scalable operations across the peninsula.
“We are excited to partner with an innovative Incheon Metropolitan City, where the world-class Incheon International airport is located; with the Institute for Aerospace Industry-Academia Collaboration which is building a vibrant UAM ecosystem in Korea; and with Lotte Corporation and Lotte Rental who will bring the resources and experience of a large global corporation. We are confident that these partnerships will accelerate commercial deployment of UAM service in Korea,” adds MintAir CEO Eugene Choi.
In June this year, Skyworks received an order for 100 eGyro eVTOL aircraft from MintAir and Mobius together, with options for an additional 100 units. At the time MintAir said the eGyro would facilitate the adoption of intra and inter-city passenger transport in Korea.