Harbour Air to launch electric seaplane test flights by December
Harbour Air Seaplanes, which announced that it would be converting its entire fleet into electric aircraft earlier this year, says it has reached a milestone in their conversion process.
In a news release Friday, Harbour Air said that many key components of their planes have been installed, including their electric motors.
With the motors installed, the airline says that it is on track to begin their first test flights by December, with the remainder of the seaplanes' integral parts being delivered over the next several weeks.
"With incredible work being completed each day and a number of integral components being delivered over the next few weeks, we are in the midst of some of the most exciting and critical development work," said Harbour Air in a news release Friday.
The floatplanes' electric motors are being developed by a Seattle-based electric aviation company, magniX.
According to magniX CEO Roei Ganzarski, while the electric motors may not have the capacity to power longer flights, the equipment is ideal for the shorter routes that Harbour Air offers.
"The range is not an issue for them," Ganzarski told CTV News back in March. "Today’s batteries can provide them exactly the range that they need to operate."
While the total cost of Harbour Air's fleet conversion has not been released, Ganzarski said that switching to electric propulsion would pay off in the long term.
"If you look at a five-year lifecycle of operating a traditional gas engine, together with all the significant maintenance that’s required for that kind of engine because they’re so complex, and all of the fuel that’s burned, it is significantly cheaper to convert and operate an electric aircraft," said Ganzarski.
In total, Harbour Air flies more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights annually between Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Whistler, Seattle, Tofino, Salt Spring Island, the Sunshine Coast and Comox.