Remote Canadian communities concerned about supply of critical goods

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by Emily Atkins

Rising worries about the security of supplies of critical goods and medicine is threatening the survival of remote communities in Canada, new research shows.

Two out of five (40 percent) of people living in remote communities are considering a move to major towns and cities due to worries about supplies, with a third planning to move out of their rural areas within two years.

Nearly six out of 10 (58 percent) are concerned about the long-term survival of their community, a nationwide study by Horizon Aircraft, found.

Government data shows nearly one in nine Canadians are classed as living in remote areas, which accounts for 74.6 percent of the Canadian landmass.

A potential solution to the threat to the survival of remote communities is identified in the research by Horizon – the introduction of air taxis or eVTOL aircraft to service the areas.

Roughly 60 percent of people questioned in remote communities said they would stay in their community if air taxis improved the delivery of supplies and made travel easier. Around 18 percent were undecided and 22 percent said it wouldn’t influence their decision.

The research by Horizon highlighted the scale of the current problems faced by remote communities – 55 percent of residents are concerned about the delivery of critical goods and medicine to their community and the same number of people say there has been a drop in the availability of supplies in the past two years.

Around 36 percent say they are becoming more concerned about security of supplies, and blame a combination of prices rising for the goods, the rising cost of transport, and Government budget restrictions for the issues.

Up to 86 percent questioned said the rising cost of goods means they can no longer afford them, while 71 percent point to Government spending, and 63 percent say the cost of fuel is making deliveries more expensive.

“The rising cost of living in general and the increasing price of fuel pose a real threat to remote communities, whose survival is dependent on secure and reliable supplies,” said Brandon Robinson, CEO of Horizon Aircraft.

“Innovations such as air taxis can play a major role in securing the future of remote communities for those who want to be able to continue living there. We believe they have the potential to revolutionize the way people travel between remote communities and provide a dependable means for the transportation of cargo, such as vital supplies and medicine, to such locations.”

Horizon Aircraft is building a new hybrid electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft that will be used by business aviation travellers as early as 2026.

Their Cavorite X5 is an eVTOL built for longer-range regional passenger or cargo, as well as special missions. It will take off and land vertically like a helicopter but will fly almost twice the distance at a fraction of the cost. It will have a maximum passenger capacity of four plus a pilot, a payload of 500 kg (1,100 lb), and a range of 800 km (500 miles) with full fuel reserves.

Horizon’s technology allows its Cavorite X5 to fly 98 percent of its mission in a very low-drag configuration like a traditional aircraft. Flying most of the time as a normal aircraft is also safer and should make the aircraft easier to certify than other radical new eVTOL designs.

The full-scale aircraft will also be powered by a hybrid electric system that can recharge the battery array in-flight while providing additional system redundancy.

Continued testing of its 50 percent-scale aircraft will reduce technical risk moving forward as Horizon continues development of its full-scale aircraft.

The study was conducted by independent research agency Pure Profile among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18-plus, which included 203 who currently live in or have lived in a remote area of Canada.