Experts are confident that electric-powered planes will re-open flights and regional travel between Australian cities.
Dovetail Electric Aviation has partnered with Rex Airlines to develop a trial of short-haul commercial flights with their electric-powered aircraft.
While Dovetail’s first commercial flight is not expected to be operational for at least another three years, Co-founder and CEO David Doral told the ABC that electric planes could see the return of short-haul flights across Australia’s regional areas, because they are cheaper to operate.
“The cost of electricity is much lower than fuel and the cost of maintenance is also much lower because it’s a much more robust machine without almost any moving parts,” Mr Doral said.
“Our estimates suggest that direct operating costs could be as low as 50 per cent of what it costs to operate conventional aircraft.”
However, Mr Doral reiterated that a 50 per cent cut in operating costs would not mean cutting ticket prices by half but would potentially mean lower starting airfares.
Potential regional travel routes so far may include from Wagga Wagga to Australia’s capital Canberra and Dubbo to Orange.
Competition for the Regional Market
Australia being a continent nation requires extensive infrastructure to link its metropolitan cities to the more isolated regions. In recent decades airlines have been slowly ceasing operations in the regional areas, with the development of roads and increasing costs of running flights making ventures unviable.
However, recently there has been a renewed investment in regional air travel with the new Australian airline Bonza making it a goal to re-open, low-cost, travel routes to the regions ignored by major airlines like Virgin Australia and Qantas and as well as direct competition with vehicle travel.
“Since announcing Bonza to the world late last year, we’ve always said we wouldn’t just fly between Australia’s three largest cities and instead give people in the regions more choice.” Bonza said in its mission statement.
From our two bases on the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne, we will give Aussies more options at ultra-low fares to explore their own backyard. With destinations ranging from Albury to the Whitsundays, travellers will now be able to fly, instead of impossibly long road trips as well as fly direct without a stopover in a major city.