Harbour Air has announced its intention to convert its fleet of seaplanes into electric ePlanes. (Wikicommons)

Seaplanes being converted to ePlanes

Harbour Air announces plans to turn fleet electric

Harbour Air, which operates a float plane service at Pitt Meadows Airport, has announced it is transforming its fleet to electric – turning its seaplanes into ePlanes.

Harbour Air has partnered with magniX to build the world’s first all-electric airline, said a release from the company this week.

North America’s largest seaplane airline, with a fleet of 40 aircraft, plans to switch to a magni500, a 750 horsepower (HP) electric motor.

Operating 12 routes between hubs like Seattle and Vancouver and across the pristine natural wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Harbour Air has more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights each year.

The Pitt Meadows Airport announced a new seaplane terminal and restaurant to be build beside the Fraser River at the airport, with construction to begin as early as this year.

“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. “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.

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

The aviation industry currently contributes 12 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions and 4.9 percent globally, all while providing few low-cost, fuel-efficient options for passenger flights under 1,000 miles, said a company press release. By modifying existing Harbour Air planes with all-electric magniX propulsion systems, a Harbour Air ePlane will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and produce zero emissions.

“In 2018, 75 per cent 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.”

The first aircraft to be converted will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, a six-passenger commercial aircraft used across Harbour Air’s route network. Harbour Air and magniX expect to conduct first flight tests of the all-electric aircraft in late 2019.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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