South Korean commercial air carrier Hi-Air has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PLANA, the companies announced this week. PLANA will provide 30 of its hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to Hi-Air starting in 2031 per the terms of the LOI.
The MoU includes plans to collaborate on the development of business models for transporting both passengers and cargo via eVTOL.
Jinmo Lee, CPO of PLANA, commented on their partnership with the small-scale air operator, saying, “This partnership will help us to strengthen our position in the AAM [advanced air mobility] market and contribute to the development of the South Korean air mobility industry.”
Joseph Kim, CEO of Hi-Air, said the company is “confident that this partnership will help us pioneer a new era of air mobility in South Korea.”
Hi-Air operates flights to Gimpo, Muan, Suncheon, and Jeju, and recently launched a new route between Muan and Kitakyushu, Japan.
Previous LOIs that PLANA has signed include one with U.S.-based Ghenus Air for 20 aircraft and another with Japan’s SkyTaxi for 50 aircraft.
In February, PLANA signed an MoU with LG Uplus to conduct joint research on 5G/LTE-based avionics data communications for urban air mobility, or UAM. The MoU includes plans to develop technologies that will enable UAM aircraft to communicate operational data to each other as well as to traffic management platforms.
PLANA also signed an MoU with Jeju Air, the largest South Korean low-cost airline, in March. The companies plan to work together to create an advanced air mobility ecosystem.
During last month’s Paris Air Show, PLANA announced a strategic partnership with BlueNest, a vertiport infrastructure developer, in addition to a partnership with DUC Hélices Propellers, a French carbon composite propeller and rotor manufacturer.
Just last week, PLANA announced the signing of yet another MoU with Gloria Aviation. “Through this agreement, we will be able to train manpower and technology that are the most important factors in the aviation industry,” said PLANA’s CPO, Jinmo Lee.
In collaboration with Gloria Aviation, PLANA will work to establish an education program and qualification standards for AAM pilots and maintenance technicians.