Canada’s flagship carrier Air Canada announced Thursday it has ordered 30 electric-hybrid aircraft under development by Sweden’s Heart Aerospace, as well as purchased shares in the company. The 30-passenger planes, which generate zero emissions while flying on battery power, are expected to enter service on Air Canada regional and commuter routes in 2028. They have a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles), which can be doubled if supplemented by generators.
“The introduction into our fleet of the ES-30 electric regional aircraft from Heart Aerospace will be a step forward to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” Air Canada chief executive Michael Rousseau said in a statement.
Air Canada and Saab, the Swedish aerospace and defense company, said they each also acquired a US$5-million equity stake in Heart Aerospace.
Meanwhile, Heart Aerospace unveiled plans to build a production and test facility at the Save airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as to nearly quadruple its current 130-person workforce by 2025.
“We have a plan and it’s not just to build a new electric airplane, but a whole new industry,” said its founder and chief executive Anders Forslund. He said previous orders for 200 of its ES-19 electric plane placed by United Airlines and Mesa Air Group and options for 100 more have been upgraded to the new ES-30 model.
The airline sector has been interested in electric aircraft for more than a decade, but as it stands, the battery storage capacity is not sufficient for long-haul flights. The industry is currently concentrating on small aircraft and on designing and building regional aircraft with a few dozen seats.
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