Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced a signed memorandum of understanding today with Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., to explore Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and to foster the required infrastructure and regulatory environment. This collaboration will inform the development of an on-demand air mobility ecosystem utilizing Bell’s air mobility solutions including Bell’s Air Taxi, the Nexus 4EX, in Japan.
“We are excited to take this substantial step to bring together an international airline, a major infrastructure provider, and a VTOL OEM to work collaboratively on a more connected mobility future.” said Bell’s Scott Drennan, Vice President of Innovation. “While we are known for our 80 years of creating vertical lift aircraft that move people, goods, and data, we also want to help shape the operational infrastructure in which they will live.”
Sumitomo is a 100-year-old global enterprise based in Japan focused on enriching lives and the world. Sumitomo is working to leverage their broad business portfolio spanning metal products, transportation & construction systems, infrastructure, media & digital, living related & real estate, and mineral resources, energy, and chemicals to support the development of the necessary infrastructure and business use cases for air mobility. ”We have been inspired by Bell’s vision and their capability of penetrating into this urban air mobility market,” said Eiji Ishida, Sumitomo’s Executive Officer of Lease, Ship & Aerospace Business Division. “All three companies bring a unique perspective, and we are excited to work together toward this new future.”
Japan Airlines (JAL) is a globally respected, international airline delivering Japanese hospitality worldwide by conducting numerous operations centering on the air transport business and improving customer’s convenience. Tomohiro Nishihata, Japan Airlines’ Managing Executive Officer of Innovation stated, “Japan Airlines is eager to explore the future of air travel beyond its existing framework, and we believe this is the right team to set the standard in Japan for future cities to implement urban air mobility systems.”
Together, these companies will develop policy and planning recommendations, identify entry into service use cases and pilot programs, and develop infrastructure requirements that integrate into both current and future transportation systems and city standards to provide safe, accessible and sustainable multi-modal transportation system to our communities.