Harbour Air to become the world's first airline with electric-only aircraft

Mar 26 2019, 4:18 pm

Harbour Air is set to become the world’s first airline with an all-electric fleet.

The short-haul seaplane airline announced today it has partnered with Redmond, Washington-based magniX to convert its fossil fuel-powered seaplanes into an electric fleet powered by the magni500 — a 750 horsepower all-electric motor.

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The first aircraft to undergo the conversion will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, which is a six-passenger aircraft used across Harbour Air’s network. The first flight tests of this aircraft with the all-electric motor is slated for the end of this year.

The resulting ‘Harbour Air ePlane’ will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and produce zero emissions, representing a significant step forward in the innovation and advancement of the airline industry.

“Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion,” Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air, in a statement.

“We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.”

According to the manufacturer, the aviation industry accounts for 4.9% of carbon emissions, and 75% of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range, but there are few less-cost, fuel-efficient options.

“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 sees over 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights annually, with 12 operating routes including from Vancouver to Seattle, Vancouver to Victoria, and Vancouver to Nanaimo.

In 2007, Harbour Air became the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America through its acquisition of carbon offsets.

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