The Most Famous Japanese Air Taxi Is Coming to Augusta Regional Airport

A Georgia-based aviation operator pre-ordered five SD-05 air taxis 8 photos
Photo: SkyDrive
A Japanese-designed and –built eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) is about to become serious competition to the domestically-made air taxis in the US. Initially, SkyDrive is eyeing the Southeast area, with a recent partnership expanding its presence from South Carolina to Georgia.
The SD-05 is coming to Georgia. Japanese aircraft manufacturer SkyDrive had teamed up with the Augusta, Georgia-based private air charter operator Bravo Air to set the stage for future air taxi operations. For Bravo Air, it's a bold step toward fully electric flights. For SkyDrive, it's a continuation of its planned expansion in the US Southeast region.

The goal is to ultimately offer customers throughout the area access to clean, affordable, and fast air travel. In the not-so-distant future, the SD-05 could operate across a wide regional network. The Augusta Regional Airport is set to play the strategic part of a central hub, and this is the main focus of this recent partnership.

Representatives of the private aviation operator have already visited the eVTOL maker in Japan. That's because, in addition to buying five SD-05 aircraft from it, the American operator also plans to implement a customized version of SkyDrive's business model for air taxi services.

World domination is what the Japanese manufacturer is aiming for. The SD-05 eVTOL is set to expand its operations far beyond the borders of its home country. Earlier this year, SkyDrive officially made its debut in the Indian market through another strategic partnership.

Keep in mind that SkyDrive is one of those few eVTOL makers backed by automotive giants, which gives it a huge advantage over the competition. In this case, Suzuki is a heavy supporter. SkyDrive recently confirmed that it will be manufacturing the SD-05 aircraft at the Suzuki-owned plant in Iwata City, Japan. Production is set to kick off in just a few months.

Apart from that, the Japanese automotive giant is also including SkyDrive in its global market expansion strategy. The eVTOL maker's successful debut on the Indian market is a direct result of Suzuki's long-term connection to this region.

SkyDrive's collaboration with the American market began in early 2023 through a partnership with Austin Aviation. The air charter operator was officially the first US-based SkyDrive customer after pre-ordering five SD-05 aircraft.

In terms of numbers, the Japanese aircraft maker secured one of its most impressive orders thanks to a Vietnam-based operator. The initial MoU with CT UAV JSC featured 100 aircraft units and was later raised to 200.

The Japanese eVTOL SD-05 wants to become a compact alternative to the heavier and larger electric air taxis. Small and lightweight, this electric aircraft promises a takeoff weight of more than 500 kg (1000 lb) and a 100 kph (60 mph) speed.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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