Jeju Air (7C, Jeju) has joined forces with five other companies to participate as a consortium in a South Korean government-organised Urban Air Mobility (UAM) competition whose goal is to have a flying taxi system operating on a commercial basis by 2025.

It has joined British manufacturer Vertical Aerospace, South Korean oil refiner GS Caltex, taxi-hailing app Kakao Mobility, mobile network operator LG Uplus, and Korean software-based drone firm Pablo Air to submit a proposal to the K-UAM Grand Challenge, which the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport has arranged.

Announced in February, the challenge expects initial proposals to be submitted by May 31. The consortium reckons that by working as a team it can speed up the project by sharing the key roles. It foresees its first demonstration flights taking place in 2023.

The six companies staged a signing ceremony at the LG Science Park in the Gangseo suburb of Seoul on May 10, where they pledged to create the industry standard for UAM while developing business opportunities, the JoongAng Daily reported. They declined to say at this point in the project how much funding they plan to provide.

Once completed, the system will connect to the existing transportation network and include automated check-in and security services. Jeju Air has been tasked with overseeing project operations.

New York-listed Vertical Aerospace will supply the UAM vehicles. Its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft VX4, designed for four passengers and a pilot, is to be flight tested this summer. Last summer, it secured two major, though tentative, orders from American Airlines for up to 250 units and from lessor Avolon for up to 500, some of which are earmarked for Virgin Atlantic.

GS Caltex will repurpose some of its petrol stations to build platforms where the vehicles can take off and land, while Pablo Air will set up a UAM operation control system.