By John Flett
Air Canada Orders 30 Electric Regional Aircraft
Air Canada announced the signing of an agreement with Heart Aerospace of Sweden for the purchase of 30 ES-30 electric-hybrid aircraft. The battery-powered aircraft is currently under development and is expected to enter into service in 2028. With zero emissions and an expected charging time of 30 to 50 minutes, the ES-30 would be deployed on the Canadian airline’s regional network giving operational cost savings and benefits.
In a press release announcing the agreement Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada said, “Air Canada has taken a leadership position in the industry to address climate change. 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.”
“Already, Air Canada is supporting the development of new technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuels and carbon capture, to address climate change,” Mr. Rousseau added. “We are now reinforcing our commitment by investing in revolutionary electric aircraft technology, both as a customer for the ES-30 and as an equity partner in Heart Aerospace.” As part of the agreement, Air Canada will acquire a $5 million equity stake in Heart Aerospace.
Anders Forslund, founder and CEO of Heart Aerospace said, “Air Canada is a strategically important partner for Heart Aerospace. The company has one of the world’s largest networks operated by regional turboprops, and it is also a progressive, future-leaning company, especially in green transmission. With the ES-30 we can start cutting emissions from air travel well before the end of this decade.”
The ES-30 is expected to have a capacity of 30 passengers with ‘an all-electric, zero-emission range of 200 km.’ The layout of the aircraft will be 2 by 1 in a 3-across configuration with the inclusion of a lavatory and a galley. With the supplementation of reserve-hybrid generators, the aircraft range of the lithium-ion battery power could be extended to 400 km and with a reduced capacity of 25 passengers a distance of 800 km may be achieved.
Heart Aerospace’s main offices and hangar facility is based at Säve Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the company cites United Airlines Ventures as one of a number of investors. The company had initially been developing the ES-19 aircraft with a number of agreements and letters of intent in place with airlines. With the announcement of the development of the ES-30 the company has advised that orders from ‘United Airlines and Mesa Air Group for a total of 200 electric aircraft with an option for an additional 100 planes are reconfirmed for the updated ES-30 design.’
Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines said, “From the beginning Heart and United have been on the same page – with an acute focus on safety, reliability, and sustainability. Heart’s exciting new design – which includes expanded passenger capacity from 19 to 30 seats, and a state-of-the-art reserve-hybrid engine – is the type of revolutionary thinking that will bring true innovation to aviation.”