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Japan’s Setouchi Community plan to build AAM network from Osaka to Kita Kyushu by 2028

MASC, a non-profit organization promoting the aerospace industry in Japan has announced the launch of its Setouchi Community AAM Infrastructure 2028 project which aims to advance commercialization of advanced air mobility (AAM) in Japan’s Setouchi region stretching from Osaka to Kita Kyushu.

“A project launch ceremony was held for SCAI28 today at Kounan Airport in Okayama, where MASC displayed its recently purchased Autoflight prototype V2000CG aircraft and welcomed nearly 100 AAM industry and civic leaders, including Okayama Prefecture governor Ryuta Ibaragi,” said a MASC press release. “The Setouchi region is a coastal area surrounding Japan’s inland sea, which connects three of the country’s four main islands: Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. The natural scenic beauty of the region’s coasts and islands and its many historical sites make it a popular tourist destination. Its mild climate and seaside location have given it a reputation as a producer of citrus fruit, seafood and other marine products.

The Setouchi coast is also home to large scale industrial zones and manufacturing cities. Despite its rich natural resources and local industry, the Setouchi region shares with the rest of Japan the issues of an aging and declining population, and it has a growing gap in transportation access from the coastal areas to inland areas and remote islands. The coastal areas have easy and convenient mobility with high-speed rail, highways, ferries, and bridges that connect Japan’s main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku. However, maintenance has become an issue for this infrastructure that is critical to the lives of inland and remote island communities. Improving this gap in access will not only address problems driven by a declining and aging population, but is also critical to promoting regional industry.

“MASC will embark on the SCAI28 project to leverage AAM, this new mode of aerial transportation, as a solution to these issues the Setouchi region faces. MASC chairman

Mineichi Inoue remarked, “With aircraft like the one we’re showing today, we can expect to be able to make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of people living on remote islands and in the inland mountain areas of the region.” Okayama Prefecture governor Ryuta Ibaragi commented, “We are excited about the many uses for aircraft like this to expand what we can do in disaster response, rescue, and other emergency operations.”

Setouchi Community AAM Infrastructure 2028 project objectives

SCAI28’s goals are to aim to develop AAM infrastructure by the 2028 time frame to address the following issues:

• Improving inland and remote island access (synergies with existing infrastructure)

• Improving community services like medical visits using AAM

• Improving transportation access to Setouchi’s tourism resources

• Cultivating AAM ecosystem industries and a qualified workforce

To meet the SCAI28 goals MASC will partner with Sanwa Aerospace Industries, Inc. (SAI) and AutoFlight, a global developer of AAM aircraft. SAI will lend its newest model V2000CG AutoFlight aircraft and its operations team to the project to support pioneering the area for AAM. AutoFlight will support SCAI28 in its capacity as vehicle manufacturer, with an eye toward AAM commercialization.


MASC (the Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group) is a not-for-profit membership organization first established in 2017 to promote the aerospace industry in the Okayama and surrounding region of western Japan. The organization’s members conduct research, education, and community outreach. MASC has performed dozens of AAM flights around Japan with eHang 216 aircraft. In 2023 MASC opened its education and exhibition center in Kurashiki, Okayama.

 SAI is working to bring the promise of advanced air mobility to transportation markets across Japan. The company’s leadership has extensive experience conducting public eVTOL flights in Japan and has developed or contributed to key concepts of operations for AAM and vertiports in Japan. SAI was founded in 2023 to build on this success and support regional sponsors to develop commercial AAM services of their own.

 Noteworthy recent achievements for AurtoFlight include setting world records for single battery charge flight distances (250.3km/155 miles), and carrying out a ground-breaking formation flight of three autonomous eVTOL aircraft, according to the company. To date, AutoFlight has completed more than 10,000 eVTOL flights.


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