Skyports signs MOU with Kanematsu Corporation



Vertiport developer Skyports and major Japanese trading company Kanematsu Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand their collaboration. 

The aim of the partnership is to enable advanced air mobility (AAM) in Japan. The companies will work together to facilitate the deployment and operation of permanent AAM transport solutions for both passengers and cargo.

Skyports and Kanematsu Corporation started working together in 2020, with a focus on vertiport infrastructure research and investment. In April 2021, the agreement has been extended to include the drone delivery market.

Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports, said: “Establishing a presence in new markets, especially in an emerging industry, requires considerable expertise, as well as detailed understanding of local regulatory and political frameworks. Working with partners such as Kanematsu, we have a world-class, local presence which will do much to support our first steps to success in Japan.”

In 2019, Skyports built the first vertiport in Singapore as a proof of concept, where Volocopter’s VoloCity demonstrated a flight around the Marina Bay.

Walker told Revolution.Aero: “People genuinely could not hear the VoloCity flying above them. That partnership really set us on the pathway with the Singaporean authorities to turn it permanent at the end of 2022 or start of 2023.”

The VoloPort is essentially the eVTOL equivalent of a private jet lounge, or fixed-base operator (FBO), with the typical facilities to host passengers pre-flight.

Yoshiya Miyabe, chief officer, Motor Vehicles & Aerospace Division at Kanematsu, said: “We see a huge opportunity for AAM and drone delivery to benefit the future of transportation for both people and goods.”

Shortly after the test flight, Skyports entered into a partnership with the French airports owner and operator, Groupe ADP, to demonstrate air taxi operations at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Most recently, in February 2021, Skyports began a three-month trial using small drones to fly the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) pathology samples and Covid test kits in areas of limited access in Scotland.

Future partnerships might include Volocopter and Lilium, with which the company enjoys a close relationship, says Walker.