Airbus is partnering with Japanese helicopter operator, Hiratagakuen, to develop Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) services in the Kansai region and beyond, reports a press release. Via this agreement, Airbus and Hiratagakuen are to explore the different facets required to launch a commercial service with CityAirbus NextGen.

The release states, “The first step, a project to organise 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 an aim to implement air mobility services beyond urban environments, the collaboration will support the development of AAM solutions alongside the NextGen. Examples include air medical services and commercial air transport to ecotourism. With the support of local stakeholders, Airbus and Hiratagakuen are to use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operations of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s flight configuration

Mitsuhiro Hirata, Vice President, Aviation Operation Division of Hiratagakuen, commented, “We have been operating Airbus helicopters for many years and appreciate their high safety, performance, operational reliability and proven after-sales support. We are aware that a revolution in air transportation is now approaching in the Osaka area, and we expect CityAirbus NextGen to play a central role in this revolution.”

Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Strategy Execution and Partnerships at Airbus, added, “Hiratagakuen’s expertise in commercial air transport and air medical services operations makes them an ideal partner for defining the operational framework for advanced air mobility with CityAirbus NextGen in Japan”.

Balkiz Sarihan


Hiratagakuen is a Kansai based helicopter operator who specialises in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), transportation of personnel, flight training, and maintenance. The company’s current fleet includes 14 H135 and two H145 helicopters.

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