The six-month long Osaka Expo 2025 is less than two and a half years away, and with the organisers promising “fleets of air taxis” to fly the public and exhibitors to and from the event, this is the place to be for the eVTOL Industry.

While the major exhibition aims to highlight Japan’s industry and boost economic growth, many suggest this also will be the moment that kickstarts the flying taxi industry. Local SkyDrive will play an important role alongside others like Joby, Volocopter and EHang.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Nippon Travel Agency (NTA), a global leader in all-things travel and JR-West Innovations, a company on the cutting-edge of new technologies, are collaborating to bring eVTOL flight tourism to Japan, reports

Under the strapline “From Helicopters to eVTOLs”, the partners organised a two-day conference last weekend (November 11th-12th) highlighting a proposed flight route between Osaka Yao Airport and Yumebutai, located on the artificially created island of Awaji. A trip that can take up to 80 minutes by car (3 pay tolls along the way), but around 15 minutes by air taxi. Conference tickets sold out in three weeks.

A spokesperson for the project commented, “Through this initiative, we will work to improve social recognition and acceptance so that flying taxis will become an important means of transportation in the future.”

This is not the first collaboration.

Back in August, during the world’s largest virtual reality event, held in the Metaverse, and organised by VR Corps HIKKY, a virtual-looking Osaka Station “Branch” was created.

At this branch, visitors can experience avatar online customer service through “Time Rep,” a remote service system, operated by UsideU, introduced by NTA and created by JR-West Innovations.

Then, the following month JR-West, as part of a consortium, received a financial grant from the Osaka Prefectural Government. Other members include Mitsui, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Ogawi Air and Terra Drone.

Mandated to create a platform for an air mobility integrated operations management system, it includes assistance in the creation of an Osaka Kansai Expo Flight Coordination Centre, as well as studies and practical experiments aiming to provide a safe environment for eVTOL flights, both under normal conditions and in emergencies. Members will share a pool of USD210,000 amongst seven other consortia.

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(top pic: METI/Ken Okuyama Design)