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ANA to Expand Self-driving Wheelchair Tests at Narita Airport

• The trial will be conducted from October 9 until November 28 with actual passengers.
• ANA aims for full roll-out after 2020.


All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest 5-Star airline for seven consecutive years, is continuing its efforts to increase accessibility through technological leadership with the latest round of tests for self-driving wheelchairs at Tokyo-Narita International Airport. These wheelchairs initially debuted in May for a series of successful tests, and ANA is now ready to take the next step in having the passengers experience the latest technology. ANA plans to conduct the test from October 9, until November 28. Current plans call for these models to be fully implemented at Narita Airport after 2020.

“ANA has always prioritized making our services accessible, and we strive to set the standard for both technological innovation and accessibility so these tests will go a long way towards making sure that the full benefits of Narita Airport are open to all passengers,” said Juichi Hirasawa, Senior Vice President of ANA. “The self-driving wheelchairs integrate the latest smart technology to help those that are unfamiliar with Narita Airport reach their gates on time. ANA aims to simplify all aspects of the travel experience and these self-driving wheelchairs will help take some of the stress out of making connections at the airport.”

Openness to new technology has long been central to ANA’s approach, and the airline has employed autonomous and self-driving machinery in the past. This time, the self-driving wheelchair tests are being conducted at Tokyo-Narita Airport because of the airport’s status as a prominent international hub. With large distances between gates separating some connecting flights, ANA employs approximately 300 wheelchairs per day to help passengers who need assistance reach their gates quickly and conveniently.

The self-driving electric wheelchairs being tested are capable of independently detecting and avoiding people and obstacles on the way to their destinations. The wheelchairs function by following a predetermined leader to a common destination, and ANA staff will be on hand to serve as guides. The smart elements and adaptability make the wheelchairs a perfect fit for the innovative and technologically advanced Narita Airport.

Through this test, ANA will work to raise the bar on customer service and seek to implement the latest technology in ways that allow it to meet emerging consumer needs.

About ANA
Following the “Inspiration of Japan” high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013 from SKYTRAX. ANA is the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation seven years in a row. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as “Airline of the Year” three times in the past 10 years - 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.

ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 82 international routes and 121 domestic routes. ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.

ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

Besides the full service and award winner carrier ANA, the ANA Group has two LCCs as consolidated subsidiaries, Vanilla Air Inc. and Peach Aviation Limited. The ANA Group carried 53.8 million passengers in FY2017, has approximately 39,000 employees and a fleet of 268 aircraft. ANA is a proud launch customer and the biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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