Air Canada is buying 30 of our electric-hybrid aircrafts: Heart Aerospace's CEO
Air Canada is investing more in green aircraft, signing a purchase agreement for 30 ES-30 electric-hybrid planes, which are under development by Sweden-based Heart Aerospace.
In a press release on Thursday, Michael Rousseau, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada, said this deal “will be a step forward to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”
Anders Forslund, founder and chief executive officer of Heart Aerospace, said the aircraft is powered by batteries and electric motors.
“The idea of this aircraft is for them to fly the short hops and actually flying them in a way that's not just green, but also makes flying short distances more affordable and more accessible,” Forslund said in an interview from his testing facility in Sweden on Monday.
FOCUS ON SHORT-HAUL TRIPS
According to Heart Aerospace’s website, the company was founded in 2018 with a focus on electrifying short-haul aviation.
Forslund said the aircraft will be starting with smaller trips of 200 kilometres, but since it has an electric-hybrid system, it can fly longer routes of 400 kilometres.
To put that in perspective, a flight from Toronto to Ottawa is about 351 kilometres.
Since its conception, the airline has brought on investors such as U.S.-based United Airlines Ventures and Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
DEAL IS 'DE-RISKING THE MARKET'
In addition to the agreement for 30 aircraft, Air Canada also acquired a minority equity stake of US$5 million in Heart Aerospace.
“I think it's great because it's de-risking the market part of our project. So essentially, Air Canada is not only one of the most progressive airlines out there, they also operate through their subsidiaries a vast fleet of turboprop aircraft, and they also have cheap access to renewable energy,” Forslund said.
“We think that this is a perfect early adopter place and we've been working with Air Canada for the past three years, but it was only last week that we were ready to make this announcement.”
Forslund plans to start flight testing in 2026, then the aircraft will enter service in 2028.
When thinking about the future, Forslund is optimistic about the potential for more deals.
“I think we will be announcing more airlines, more suppliers that are joining us as well, and also more technical progress from what you're seeing behind me,” Forslund said.
“I think there's exciting times ahead.”