A short fully-electric commercial flight took place in Vancouver on Tuesday in what the operators described as a world’s first.
The 15-minutes test flight by seaplane airline Habour Air and Australian electric motor manufacturer MagniX was conducted with a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver aircraft, powered by a 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system.
“This historic flight signifies the start of the third era in aviation – the electric age,” the two companies said in a statement.
MagniX debuted its all-electric propulsion system for ‘Middle Mile’ air transit — passenger and cargo flights of up to 1,000 miles — at the 2019 Paris Air Show in June.
Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane operator operating 300 daily flights with more than 40 aircraft, said it would retrofit its fleet with the magni500 propulsion systems to achieve its bid to become the world’s first all-electric airline.
Israeli company Eviation has also said it would use the e-propulsion system to build its all-electric Alice aircraft.
Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the European Commission, direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 2% of global emissions. It estimates that “if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters”.