United Airlines Plan Electric Planes for Short Flights

United Airlines have announced plans to use electric-powered aircraft for short-haul flights by 2030.

The US-based airline plans to use its first electric aircraft for flights of 200 miles (322 kilometres) or less towards the end of the decade.

“Initially, we want to fly on routes that are 200 miles or less,” President of United Airlines Ventures Mike Leskinen said during a video interview at CNBC’s ESG Impact Virtual Conference. “as the technology improves, aircraft will have a range of 250 miles or 300 miles (400 km or 480 km).”

Leskinen said that by 2030 United will have fixed-wing electric aircraft, including Swedish start-up Heart Aerospace’s ES-30s.

United Airlines Electric Future

United Airlines had already made its electric future clear last year, purchasing 100 ES-30 battery-powered planes from the Swedish startup Heart Aerospace.

Heart Aerospace founder Anders Forslund stated their electric aircraft, which they’ll be aiming to get in the air by 2028, would be able to recharge in “under half an hour”.

“With a lower cost profile you can bring back more smaller markets than were possible with the higher cost of a jet-fueled aircraft,” Mr Leskinen said at the time.

Heart Aerospace concept art
Heart Aerospace ES-30 is set to become a popular feature in the skies @ Heart Aerospace

Who are Heart Aerospace

Heart Aerospace has been in popular demand recently, with multiple airlines, including Air Canada and Scandinavian Airlines making advanced purchases for their ES-30 aircraft.

As Samuel Gachon wrote for Travel Radar, the ES-30 will be an electric-hybrid aircraft powered by lithium-ion batteries, along with reserve-hybrid generators powered by sustainable fuel. The ES-30 will be able to carry up to 30 passengers and will be equipped with a galley and is projected to be quieter, more reliable, and have better operational parameters and a smaller environmental footprint than conventional aircraft.

What do you think of United Airlines’ partnership with Heart Aerospace? Let us know in the comments…

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