Air Canada buying electric aircraft

by Emily Atkins

Air Canada is buying 30 ES-30 electric-hybrid aircraft under development by Heart Aerospace of Sweden.

The regional aircraft, expected to enter service in 2028, will generate zero emissions flying on battery power. Under the agreement, Air Canada has also acquired a US$5 million equity stake in Heart Aerospace.

The aircraft will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. It will be equipped with reserve-hybrid generators that can use sustainable aviation fuel.

The ES-30 will have an all-electric range of 200 km.

Fully loaded, the ES-30 is projected to have an all-electric, zero-emission range of 200 km. This can be extended to 400 km with power supplemented by the generators, and up to 800 km if the load is restricted to 25 passengers. Charging time for the aircraft is expected to be 30-to-50 minutes.

The carrier says the ES-30 will serve regional and commuter routes more sustainably, providing low-emission connectivity to local communities over the medium-to-long term. It will be capable of carrying 30 passengers seated three across (in a 2X1 configuration), with a galley and toilet. It will have a cargo compartment in the belly, like a conventional aircraft.

Cheaper flight costs

According to the manufacturer, the ES-30 will have an operating cost similar to a conventional 50-seat turboprop aircraft on a cost-per-seat basis, and will be cheaper on a per trip basis.

It also said it plans range extensions to 300 km electric and 500 km hybrid by the mid-2030s.

“Air Canada has taken a leadership position in the industry to address climate change. The introduction into our fleet of the ES-30 electric regional aircraft from Heart Aerospace will be a step forward to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” said Michael Rousseau, president and CEO of Air Canada.

“Already, Air Canada is supporting the development of new technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuels and carbon capture, to address climate change. We are now reinforcing our commitment by investing in revolutionary electric aircraft technology, both as a customer for the ES-30 and as an equity partner in Heart Aerospace.”

Almost 100 orders

Saab is also investing $5 million in the company, which is based in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Previous orders for Heart Aerospace’s ES-19 electric airplane, a 19 seater, placed by United Airlines and Mesa Air Group for a total of 200 electric aircraft with an option for an additional 100 planes, have been reconfirmed for the updated ES-30 design. Other buyers include the Nordic airlines Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA), Icelandair and SAS as well as New Zealand’s Sounds Air. Rockton, a Swedish-based lessor who has made it their mission to focus on sustainable solutions for the industry, has just signed an LOI with for up to 40 airplanes. In total, Heart Aerospace has letters of intent for 96 ES-30s.