Floatplane carrier plans conversion

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A file image of a Harbour Air aircraft. (Harbour Air)

Vancouver, Canada-based Harbour Air says it plans {to convert|for converting} its entire fleet {to be|to become|to get} powered with electric motors.

Harbour Air, the world’ s largest floatplane-only airline, carries about 500, 000 passengers {a year|annually|per year} on its fleet of de Havilland Beaver, Otter and Twin Otter aircraft, {as well as a|in addition to a|and a} Cessna Caravan, on daily scheduled services between Seattle and Vancouver, Vancouver Island and various cities {on the|around the|within the} west coast of {British Columbia|Britich columbia}.

The company has partnered with Washington State-based magniX, which is developing a 750-horsepower electric motor and {battery pack|battery power} that offers a maximum endurance of about an hour, to convert its fleet.

{As most|Since many|Because so many} of Harbour Air’ s sectors are 30 minutes or less, the motors and batteries currently available should serve most routes adequately.

Harbour Air Seaplanes founder and chief executive Greg McDougall said this latest initiative follows the company being the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007 through the purchase of carbon offsets.

“ Through our commitment to making a positive {impact on|effect on|influence on} people’ s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are {once again|once more|yet again} pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming {the first|the very first|the initial} commercial aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion, ” McDougall said in a statement on March 26.

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

The first aircraft scheduled to be converted {will be a|would have been a|is a} de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, which will be used as a technology demonstrator and to provide data to Transport Canada for the certification process. Flight tests {of the|from the|in the} all-electric aircraft were {expected to|likely to|anticipated to} begin in late 2019.

magniX chief executive Roei Ganzarski said there was great potential for battery-powered flight, given about 75 percent of airline flights around the world in 2018 were under 1, 000 miles.

“ We’ re {excited to|capable to} partner with Harbour Air, a forward-thinking, like-minded company {that is|which is|that may be} dedicated to bringing environmentally conscious, cost-effective air-transport solutions to the West Coast of North America, ” Ganzarski said in a statement.

“ This partnership will set {the standard|the conventional|the typical} for the future of commercial aviation operators. ”

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VIDEO: A 2016 corporate video from the Harbour Air YouTube channel .

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