Cooperation and collaboration in Japan
With a growing presence in every sector of the market and an increasingly strong industrial footprint, Airbus’ belief in Japan as a strategically vital country in the Asia-Pacific region is clear to see.
Airbus’ Japan office is located in central Tokyo. We operate a state-of-the-art helicopter support facility in Kobe City, providing Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services, customisation, technical support and training using the only full-flight helicopter simulator in Japan. Our logistics centre in Tokyo can deliver spare parts for the helicopter range with the shortest possible lead time. More than 100 major Japanese companies are working with Airbus across an extensive range of programmes.
Research and Technology (R&T) is another area for co-operation between Japan and Airbus. Cooperative research activities have been carried out on the evaluation of composite materials and structural health monitoring technology. The use of humanoid robots in aircraft assembly is also being studied.
All of Airbus’ work in Japan and the wider region is focused on the future.
In recent years Airbus has significantly strengthened its position in the Japanese commercial aircraft market. Japan Airlines’ major order for the A350 XWB was an important breakthrough and it was soon followed by orders from ANA Holdings for the A320 Family and, early in 2016, for the A380. The first of ANA’s three A380s was delivered in early 2019 bearing a distinctive ‘turtle’ livery.
Airbus single aisle aircraft have become the most popular choice for Japan’s emerging low cost carriers including AirAsia Japan, Jetstar Japan, Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air. Almost half of all new aircraft on order for future delivery to carriers in the country are for Airbus products.
Over 100 major Japanese companies work with Airbus on various programmes. For example, the A380’s forward and rear cargo doors come from by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries while the vertical tail plane’s (VTP) leading and trailing edge are manufactured by SUBARU. Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) floor beams, VTP stringers and galleys are provided by JAMCO, horizontal tail plane tips by Nippi, and pure titanium sheets for all Airbus aircraft originate from Nippon Steel. Toray and Teijin both signed contracts with Airbus to supply carbon fibre for all aircraft. Japan supplies parts for Airbus and Airbus Commercial Aircraft valued at about $1 billion per year.
Japan supplies parts for Airbus and Airbus Commercial Aircraft valued at about $1 billion per year.
Airbus leads the Japanese market with over 50% market share in the civil and parapublic sectors, and over 350 helicopters in service with 100 customers. These include the Ministry of Defence, Japan Coast Guard and other government agencies. Aero Asahi, Nakanihon Air Service and Toho Air Service lead a list of prominent commercial and private operators. The Kobe City support centre is also the most comprehensive in the region, covering training, maintenance, customisation and after sales support.
Airbus is contributing to Japan’s successful space sector by supplying state-of-the-art components for Japanese satellites and some of our space technologies were developed in Japan. We have strong relationships with NEC Space Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric Co., and we procure advanced components with Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd.
The company’s defence portfolio includes many products that could prove suitable for Japan’s future needs. The versatile C295W maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) platform is ideal for coastguard operations and other missions around an island nation. Its roll-on/roll-off mission system allows it to be reconfigured quickly between roles, and performance-based logistics ensure high fleet availability. Airbus can also offer a partnership with Japan on a future fighter concept ranging from design and development to production, upgrades and in-service support. With our industrial partner, Fujitsu Ltd., we also provide facilities, services and training for electronic warfare.
Airbus in Japan values industrial partnerships, strong government relations and mutually beneficial ties with the financial community. On the industrial side, Airbus sources $1 billion worth of parts, components and materials per year from more than 100 Japanese companies on various programmes. Partners include many highly reputable industrial companies, including SUBARU, JAMCO, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shinmaywa, Teijin and Toray.
One of the largest collaborative projects in Japan is the joint development and production, with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, of the H145/BK117 twin-engine light utility helicopter. So far over 1,500 have been sold worldwide.
Airbus has also identified Japan as a key location for nurturing collaborative R&T projects, with teams actively working on a variety of programmes. These include an initiative to involve Japanese partners in our exciting path towards digital transformation. Airbus is fully committed to strengthening its presence in Japan by exceeding the expectations of our customers and offering opportunities for further shared growth.
Airbus sources $1 billion worth of parts, components and materials per year from more than 100 Japanese companies.
Airbus searches the globe for technological excellence, identifying competences in key countries. Japan was identified for its existing capabilities and its potential for future collaborations. Airbus Innovations launched in Japan in 2014 and, in 2016, it was followed by a digital transformation team. It is expected that developing partnerships with Japanese research centres or universities will lead to the introduction of new technologies on future products.
Airbus is also developing initiatives designed to leverage disruptive digital technologies to radically improve existing business performance and create new value propositions or business models in operations, company culture, and ways of working, as well as in redefining boundaries with customers or suppliers.
It is also possible to combine digital technologies with concrete process improvement. Projects include a joint robotics research programme with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Collaborations with companies, such as GS Yuasa Technology and Nissan Motor Company are also moving forward, with the introduction of the Airbus E-Aircraft Roadmap.
Among other projects are the use of a distributed Artificial Intelligence (AI) agent for machine learning and data mining directly from the sensors, and the study of natural language processing techniques for a new generation of user interface and experience. Airbus is also investigating possible technical exchanges and collaboration with leading Japanese industries, research institutes and universities in fields such as advanced batteries, connectivity and automated drive, new materials developments, artificial intelligence, data mining, and IoT (Internet of Things).
Airbus also seeks exceptional, inspired founders, and start-ups who will set the course for ground-breaking innovation for the aerospace world and has already been supporting some pioneering Japanese companies through Airbus Ventures.
Developing new leaders, experts and innovators
Airbus and the University of Tokyo signed an agreement for Airbus Global University Partnership Programme (AGUPP) designed to optimise its worldwide university engagement in the development of engineering leaders, experts and emerging technology innovators of the future.
To find out more about Airbus in Japan at www.airbusjapan.com.
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