All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Joby have announced they are forming a partnership that will see Japan’s largest airline join with Joby to bring aerial ridesharing services to Japan. Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) also joined the partnership, with the intention of exploring opportunities such as connections with ground-based transportation.

ANA and Joby are set to collaborate on all aspects of establishing this new form of transportation in Japan, including the development of infrastructure, pilot training, flight operations, air traffic management, public acceptance, and regulatory requirements. Integration with ground transportation will also be considered, with Toyota supporting this effort. The parties will also collaboratively conduct discussions with relevant private companies as well as local and national governments.

The three partners are all existing members of Japan’s Public-Private Conference for the Future Air Mobility Revolution, which was established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to accelerate the adoption of aerial ridesharing in the country.

Commenting on the partnership and the opportunity presented by the Japanese market, JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said: “Joby exists to help people save time while reducing their carbon footprint. Japan offers us a spectacular opportunity to do just that with 92% of the population living in urban areas and Tokyo registering as one of the top 20 most congested cities in the world.”

He continued: “We’re humbled to be working with ANA, an airline that has deservedly been awarded SKYTRAX’s 5-Star rating nine years in a row, and we look forward to working closely with them to bring our aerial ridesharing service to reality in Japan.”

Joby Aviation has spent more than a decade developing the technology behind its aircraft, has completed more than 1,000 test flights, and is the first and only eVTOL company to sign a G-1 (stage 4) Certification Basis for their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Speaking about the opportunity presented by the introduction of aerial ridesharing in Japan, Koji Shibata, Representative Director and Executive Vice President at ANA HD, said: “ANA has 70 years of experience delivering safe and reliable flights to customers across the world. We’re proud to bring that operational experience to the table as part of this partnership and to be at the forefront of introducing this revolutionary form of transport to Japan.”

“Our customers value efficiency very highly, so being able to provide them with the option to travel rapidly – and sustainably – from an international airport to a downtown location is very appealing.”

The concept of aerial ridesharing has been gaining momentum in Japan as the country accelerates its efforts to prepare for the 2025 World Expo to be held in the western capital of Osaka. Osaka is the third most populous city in Japan and the largest component of the Keihanshin metropolitan area, consisting of more than 18 million residents.

While Joby’s aerial ridesharing service will be operated directly by the company and offered to passengers via its app or the Uber app in U.S markets, this announcement reflects Joby’s strategy to partner with local air transportation companies committed to delivering exceptional customer service and operational excellence in other countries. Additionally, Joby expects to work with local ground mobility partners to deliver seamless, end-to-end journeys for customers.

Why it matters: Airlines across the world are partnering with eVTOL manufacturers, and the agreement between ANA and Joby is the latest example of this movement. Joby brings to the table its wealth of experience in working alongside ride-sharing apps like Uber, as well as its notable eVTOL aircraft. Joby’s pre-existing investment relationship with Toyota and Toyota’s participation in this partnership is also exciting, for the potential of integrating Joby’s ride-sharing capabilities with ground-based transportation.

Posted by Ross Piscoran