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Air Canada Agrees to Purchase 30 Electro-Hybrid Aircraft

Air Canada has agreed to purchase 30 ES-30 electric-hybrid aircraft under development by Heart Aerospace of Sweden and expected to enter service in 2028, the carrier announced Thursday. The agreement includes a US$5 million equity stake in the Swedish company.

The aircraft will have a capacity of up to 30 passengers with a galley and lavatory and have a “smaller environmental footprint than conventional turbo-prop aircraft,” according to Air Canada. 

Further, the aircraft will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and be equipped with reserve-hybrid generators that can use sustainable aviation fuel. The vehicles are expected to have an all-electric, zero-emission range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) on battery use, up to 400 kilometers with power supplemented by the generators, and up to 800 kilometers if the load is restricted to 25 passengers, according to the carrier.

Charging time for the aircraft is expected to be 30 to 50 minutes. Air Canada intends to use the vehicles to serve regional and commuter routes “more sustainably.”

Air Canada joins several North American carriers in purchasing and investing in electric aircraft. 

Earlier this month, United Airlines invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility with an agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft and an option for 200 more. In August, the carrier also paid a $10 million deposit for 100 electric aircraft from Archer Aviation and made a prior investment in hydrogen-electric engine developer ZeroAvia, which Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have invested in as well. In addition, American in August approved a pre-delivery payment for 50 electric aircraft from Vertical Aerospace, in which it had previously invested $25 million. JetBlue has been an investor in Joby Aviation, which is developing an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and went public in 2021, since 2017 via its JetBlue Technology Ventures subsidiary.

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