The US-based airline, United Airlines, has announced plans and signed an agreement to purchase 100 19-seat electric planes from the Swedish start-up Heart Aerospace “to decarbonize regional air travel.” It is expected to take the skies as early as possible in 2026.
As per the conditional agreement with Heart Aerospace, United Airlines will only purchase the ES-19 aircraft after it meets the requirements for its safety, business, and operations and strictly mentioned that the order value will not be disclosed.
Alongside the United Airlines newly established venture capital fund, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) said that it is investing in the start-up under an undisclosed amount by partnering with the Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) Bill Gates and Mesa Airlines.
This announcement by United Airlines is the latest in the aviation industry in a series of such “innovation-related” plans as major airlines and competitors get under pressure to cut emissions.
The Vice President Corp Development and Investor Relations of United Airlines, Michael Leskinen, as well as the UAV President, stated that “We anticipate the short-haul regional air travel market to play a major part in the electric aircraft evolution.”
“The leading voice of investors, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, who are supporting the creation of clean-energy technology. We give their opinion that we have to construct companies that can transform how industries function. It means funding in groups like Heart Aerospace is developing a viable electric airliner, added in their statement, in our case.
We understand that customers want even more possession of their own carbon emissions footprint. So we feel proud to partner with Mesa Air Group to bring electric planes to our customers sooner than any other US airliner. Jonathan Ornstein is the long-serving CEO of Mesa, has shown imaginary power in the area of electric-powered flight.”
Heart’s zero operational emissions objective for the 19-seat electric planes would be achieved by using proprietary electric motors and batteries instead of the usual jet engines and jet fuel. The ES-19, with 19 passenger capacity, is larger than its other electric competitors. It operates with the batteries used in electric vehicles at a low operating cost. The CEO of Heart Aerospace, Anders Forslund, declared, “Electric aircraft are happening now – the technology is already here.”
United Airlines said in a statement that the 19-seat ES-aircraft would carry passengers up to 400 kilometres and was expected to be available for commercial flight services from 2026. In addition, it will operate more than 100 regional flight routes out of its hubs, such as San Francisco International Airport to Modesto City-County Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Purdue University Airport.
United Airlines and Mesa Airlines agreed to purchase 100 of the 19-seat electric planes to meet United Airlines’ requirements once developed.
Michael Leskinen said, “We don’t need to wait for 50, 75, and 125 seat planes. Now, we need to get involved by funding a company that we believe has a huge technological lead with the beliefs of over time working with them to move the aircraft size to larger gauge.”
The plan for such investment by the airline is part of its aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent within 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets. In addition, UAV is working along with the Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), both amongst the very first investors in Heart Aerospace, believing they could help fast-track the introduction of ES-19 in the market.