Austin-based LIFT Aircraft has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Marubeni, one of Japan's prominent general trading companies. Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway holds close to an 8% stake in Marubeni, and since its disclosure in August 2020, Marubeni's stock value has increased by over four times.
The collaboration between LIFT and Marubeni will focus on the commercialization of LIFT's HEXA personal aerial vehicle in Japan. The partnership will involve joint market research, engagement with regulators, and an option for Marubeni to pre-order up to 100 HEXA aircraft, pending approval from the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). The two companies are also seeking JCAB's permission to provide training and allow pay-per-flight rentals of HEXA in Japan. Notably, HEXA is recognized as an ultralight vehicle under FAA guidelines, which means it doesn't necessitate a pilot’s license or specific certification to operate.
Earlier this year, LIFT and Marubeni showcased the first manned flights of an eVTOL aircraft in Japan, conducting public demonstrations in Osaka and the Ehime cities of Niihama and Imabari. Additionally, Marubeni was chosen to manage eVTOL aircraft operations connecting internal and external ports at the upcoming Expo 2025 in Osaka.
LIFT's CEO, Matt Chasen, highlighted Marubeni’s expertise in the global market and its dedication to advancing the eVTOL industry as significant factors behind the collaboration.