Harbour Air's electric-battery plane makes first flight to downtown Vancouver

Apr 25 2023, 1:37 am

On Earth Day, over the weekend, Harbour Air made a major milestone of flying and landing its electric-battery seaplane at its major operational hub at the Coal Harbour terminal in downtown Vancouver.

The aircraft departed from its terminal on the Fraser River at Vancouver International Airport and landed in Coal Harbour. It is the E-Plane’s first appearance in downtown Vancouver.

“We are thrilled to be making our first appearance in Downtown Vancouver on Earth Day” said Bert van der Stege, CEO of Harbour Air, in a statement.

“On this Earth Day 2023, we acknowledge the immense effort required to make a meaningful difference in our environmental impact. Our commitment to sustainability has inspired us to invest significantly in reducing our carbon footprint. As we celebrate this year’s theme of ‘Invest In Our Planet,’ we are excited to continue our work towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future.”

The flight to downtown Vancouver marks the start of Harbour Air’s E-Plane tour this spring. More showcase flights are scheduled, reaching Salt Spring Island on May 5 and 6, and Victoria Inner Harbour on May 7 and 8, although this schedule is subject to weather conditions.

So far, the E-Plane has successfully completed 25 hours of flight time across a combined total of 72 flights. Extensive tests are required as part of the approval process for certifying the use of electric-battery planes.

Harbour Air electric aircraft

Harbour Air’s test flight of an all-electric battery-powered seaplane aircraft at Vancouver International Airport on December 10, 2019. (Harbour Air)

The short-haul regional airline began its E-Plane project in 2019, when it announced a partnership with Washington state-based MagniX to convert an existing fossil fuel-powered Havilland Beaver seaplane into a battery-powered aircraft.

The first test flight of this converted aircraft was completed in December 2019, and the first test flight between Vancouver International Airport and Victoria International Airport was made in August 2022.

Harbour Air intends to convert its aircraft into an all-electric fleet over time.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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