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An artist’s rendition of Korea Airports Corp.’s vertiport for air taxis

Korea’s first air taxis are expected to offer their services on Jeju Island in 2025. K-UAM Dream Team Consortium, consisting of SK Telecom, Korea Airports Corp. and Hanwha Systems, are planning to provide a commercial urban air mobility (UAM) service on Jeju Island three years later.

The consortium signed an MOU with Jeju Special Self-Governing Province for a pilot UAM project on Sept. 14. Representatives of the companies agreed to work together to make the UAM commercial service successful. They will combine the strengths of private companies, a state-run company and a local government. A signing ceremony was held at the government of the self-governing province. 

The two sides plan to create a business environment for the planned air taxi service by modifying and supplementing the current aviation system and infrastructure on Jeju Island. Experts say that rapid UAM commercialization will be possible in light of the infrastructure on the island, including Jeju Airport and navigation facilities owned by Korea Airports Corp. Discussions on insitutional arrangements for the UAM pilot project are actively underway. The Act on Promotion of and Support for UAM Utilization was proposed in August.

For the pilot UAM project on Jeju Island, SK Telecom will develop and operate a mobility platform and develop a communication system for UAM. For this, it has forged a partnership with Joby Aviation of the United States.

Korea Airports Corp. will be in charge of building a UAM vertical take-off and landing site and providing UAM traffic management services using navigation safety infrastructure. Hanwha Systems will develop UAM aircraft, carry out maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) and develop UAM navigation and control solutions. The Jeju provincial government plans to create a policy environment and UAM ecosystem for the promotion of the project.

Currently, major cities in the world — Los Angeles and Florida in the United States, Paris in France and Osaka in Japan among others — are planning to commercialize UAM between 2024 and 2025. Jeju Province is expected to lead UAM services in Korea.

 

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