Harbour Air, the largest seaplane airline, announced this week that it is planning to convert its entire fleet over to electric.
Spurred by a partnership with magniX, the plan for electric propulsion on commercial flights is going to become a reality much sooner than many experts believed would happen. Harbour Air will be moving from its conventional gas engines to a 750-horsepower, all-electric motor. The modified planes will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and product zero emissions.
"Harbour Air first demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007, through the purchase of carbon offsets," said Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air Seaplanes, in a press release. "We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes."
According to the Harbour Air website, the first plane to be converted will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver. It is a six-passenger aircraft that is frequently used by the company in many of its routes.
Current estimates place the aviation community as responsible for 12% of all carbon emissions in the United States as well as nearly 5% globally. The European Commission Flightpath 2050 guidelines are setting goals of zero-emission ground maneuvering, a 90% reduction of NOx, a 75% lower in-flight CO2 emissions, and a 65% decrease in noise emissions in aircrafts by 2050 -- using the year 2000 as its baseline.
Logically, it would mean that electric airplanes are the path to a greener future in the sky. Harbour Air being a pioneer in this industry could help push about the evolution of not only charter flights but commercial aviation as a whole.
“In 2018, 75 percent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range. With magniX’s new propulsion systems coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “We’re excited to partner with Harbour Air, a forward thinking, like-minded company that is dedicated to bringing environmentally conscious, cost effective air-transport solutions to the West Coast of North America. This partnership will set the standard for the future of commercial aviation operators.”
Harbour Air serves nearly 500,000 customers in the Pacific Northwest and will begin flight tests in late-2019.