Sumitomo Corporation, a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest trading companies in the world, has invested in Germany-based Volocopter's Series E Funding round. It will also become a key strategic partner for entry into service in the Japanese market starting in 2025. Additionally, Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has accepted Volocopter's application for concurrent type certification of the VoloCity aircraft in Japan.
Volocopter is committed to flying its VoloCity air taxi at the 2025 World Expo Osaka, and has achieved a major regulatory milestone in making this ambitious goal a reality: EASA and JCAB have accepted Volocopter's application process for concurrent type certification of the fully electric VoloCity aircraft to fly commercially in Japan. Volocopter is currently pushing the envelope on flight testing and is on target to achieve certification for the VoloCity from EASA in 2024. As of now, the company is pursuing concurrent validation with three non-European civil aviation authorities: JCAB in Japan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in Singapore.
The company's dedication to Japan dates back to 2018, when the country became one of the first to announce its commitment to bringing UAM to life. This includes a clear roadmap outlining the steps it needs to take to educate the public, introduce regulations and launch commercial services. As the frontrunner for a Japan-based UAM launch, Volocopter has both the experience and expertise to work with local authorities to create a UAM ecosystem that establishes a safe and sustainable environment for UAM.
Sumitomo's investment further strengthens Volocopter's local ties from a business perspective. The corporation possesses a keen understanding of the global business market, the energy and resource sectors, as well as Japanese market operations. This move diversifies Volocopter's global partnerships to establish a UAM ecosystem.
CCO Christian Bauer says: “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. 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. I cannot wait to see the public reaction to the VoloCity air taxi being unveiled in Osaka for the first time.”
EASA executive director Patrick Ky adds: “This is an important milestone in the development of relations between Japan and Europe in the field of new aviation technologies. EASA is proudly partnering with Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to support the development of the UAM industry in Japan and share with JCAB its experience with its SC-VTOL regulations in the certification process of VoloCity.”
To increase public awareness and acceptance of eVTOL aircraft in Japan, Volocopter is showcasing its VoloCity full-scale static model for the first time from 8-March. The showcase event will take place at the Grand Front Osaka, a shopping mall with high footfall and ideally located adjacent to the Osaka Umeda station, which sees 2.3 million passengers passing through every day. Since late 2022, Volocopter has hosted UAM knowledge sessions for elementary school children in select Osaka city wards, as part of its obligation to the Prefectural Government grant, and will continue to involve the future generation of UAM passengers by offering VoloCity tours at the showcase event.