LIFT Aircraft Inc announced today that the Austin, TX-based company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Marubeni Corporation (MARUY), one of Japan’s largest so-called “sogo-shosha”, or general trading companies. Famed investor Warren Buffett, through Berkshire Hathaway, has amassed a stake in Marubeni approaching 8%. Marubeni's share price has more than quadrupled since the end of August 2020, when Berkshire disclosed its ownership.
Under the terms of the MOU, Marubeni intends to partner with LIFT to commercialize its groundbreaking HEXA personal aerial vehicle in Japan – including jointly undertaking market research, regulatory engagement, and a pre-order option up to 100 aircraft subject to approval by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). The two companies are in the process of gaining permission from JCAB to offer training and pay-per-flight rentals of HEXA, which is classified as an ultralight vehicle under FAA regulations, so does not require a pilot’s license or type certification to fly.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Marubeni Corporation, a distinguished leader in the global market, to realize the potential of this technology in Japan and throughout the world,” said Matt Chasen, CEO of LIFT Aircraft. “Marubeni’s deep industry knowledge, strong operational capabilities, and commitment to advancing the eVTOL industry makes them an ideal partner.”
In March, in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Ehime (Niihama and Imabari), LIFT and Marubeni collaborated to perform public demonstrations of the first manned flights of any eVTOL aircraft in Japan. Marubeni was one of the Japanese companies selected by the organizers of Expo 2025 Osaka to operate eVTOL aircraft between two ports connecting the ports inside and outside the venue of the Expo.
CNBC covered Warren Buffett’s investment in Marubeni, highlighting Marubeni’s collaboration with LIFT in this recent article: