Harbour Airlines, a British Columbia seaplane company, which operates about 30,000 flights each year on 12 routes between Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, and surrounding areas, announced its partnership with the MagniX engineering firm to create the world’s first completely electric airline. Already the first fully carbon-neutral airline (in 2007), Greg McDougall, Harbour Air’s founder and CEO, plans to take North America’s largest seaplane airline to the next level. The fleet will be powered by the Magni500, a 750-hp electric motor developed by the Washington-based firm.
Electric powered planes may seem like a stretch given traditional anxieties about the range of electric vehicles (mostly cars, but boats too) – but the majority of Harbour Air’s flights are less than 20 minutes in duration; and even longer range flights like those from Vancouver International Airport to Seattle are well within the targeted range specified by MagniX.
MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski notes that, “in 2018, 75 percent 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 the heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range.”
The DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver will be the first converted aircraft with its first tests expected to take off late this year. McDougall reports in a statement, “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.”