ANA Holdings Inc., Japan Airlines Co. and three other companies have been selected to operate air taxi services during the 2025 World Exposition to be held in Osaka in western Japan, the event's organizer said Tuesday.
Japan wants the "flying cars" to be one of the main attractions at the expo, with the next-generation mobility expected to provide access to the event venue to be set up on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
ANA Holdings, the parent of All Nippon Airways Co., will partner with U.S. startup Joby Aviation Inc., a company in which Toyota Motor Corp. has a stake. Other companies selected as operators are SkyDrive Inc., based in Aichi Prefecture, and trading firm Marubeni Corp.
Naoki Okada, minister in charge of the World Expo 2025, said he hopes the technology will "surprise" people around the world. He also called on the five companies to cooperate on demonstration flights prior to the start of the 184-day event.
The flying cars, which will carry two to five people each, will connect the three areas of the exposition venue on Yumeshima, central Osaka city and nearby Kansai International Airport. Their flight routes, landing and takeoff areas are to be determined.
ANA Holdings will operate a five-seat vertical takeoff and landing aircraft developed by Joby Aviation. In October, the California-based company applied for its aircraft design to be certified for use in Japan.
JAL will operate two-rider aircraft developed by German firm Volocopter GmbH, while Marubeni will operate five-seater aircraft created by Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd., a British company, after reserving in January delivery slots for 25 of them.
SkyDrive is looking to get a type certificate for its two-rider aircraft, still in development, before the exposition.
Meanwhile, the operator of the takeoff and landing sites at the exposition venue on Yumeshima will be Orix Corp., according to the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition.
The World Expo 2025 will last from April 13 through Oct. 13 under the theme "Designing Future Society for Our Lives."