Electra.aero has secured purchase commitments for 180 of its hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft, totalling more than $500 million in value. The deals are part of cooperative agreements with air service providers and infrastructure developers in multiple countries, and reflect global demand for low emissions transportation as countries strive to meet carbon reduction targets.
Electra has signed agreements with Flapper, the largest on-demand private aviation platform in Latin America, and with Skyportz, Australia's advanced air mobility infrastructure developer. Electra previously announced an agreement with leading global vertical flight operator Bristow Group. Combined, the three partnerships give Electra an inside track on the design, operation, ground support and marketing of its aircraft.
With less fuel burn and emissions per passenger than a personal car, Electra's hybrid-electric aircraft supports global emissions reduction targets. The fixed-wing aircraft will initially carry up to seven passengers and a pilot or 1,800 pounds of cargo up to 500 miles in all weather conditions. Its ability to take off and land in just 100 ft, with in-flight battery recharging, enables flight operations from places previously inaccessible by flight, including urban rooftops and corporate parking lots. Electra's technology delivers two and a half times the payload and ten times longer range with 70 per cent lower operating costs than vertical takeoff alternatives, proving that climate friendly technology can also be cost-effective.
“These strategic agreements go beyond the technological development and manufacturing of the aircraft,” says John S. Langford, founder and CEO of Electra.aero. “They chart the entire ecosystem needed for its successful operation, ground support and customer use that together validate the commercial viability and market confidence in our eSTOL aircraft.” The global urban and regional advanced air mobility market that Electra serves is forecast by Morgan Stanley at $1 trillion.
Flapper is Latin America's leading charter flight reservation platform, offering near real-time online booking for passenger and freight cargo services for a fleet of over 730 aircraft. Its on-demand service saves hours of travel time between congested cities and airports in a region considered the most urbanised on the planet, with over 80 per cent of its population in cities. Under an MOU, Electra will be Flapper's preferred aircraft provider for five-plus seat regional air services. As Electra's preferred service provider in Brazil, Flapper commits to purchase 15 Electra eSTOL aircraft with an option for 15 more planes. The two companies will jointly pursue new route networks including for heliport operators and real estate developers and investors. Eve and Flapper recently agreed to develop UAM ops in Latin America.
“Our transition to sustainable electric aircraft is expected to achieve 40 per cent savings in our operational costs and open our service to new destinations,” says Paul Malicki, CEO of Flapper. “With Electra's eSTOL plane, we look forward to offering our customers unparalleled urban and regional air mobility in cities such as São Paulo, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile or Ciudad de Mexico, all at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter ride.”
“Latin America is a key urban air mobility market, and the city of São Paulo, Brazil operates the largest passenger helicopter fleet in the world,” notes Langford. “Together with Flapper we'll deliver a quieter, more economical aircraft to this market that slashes fuel burn by 70 per cent versus helicopters, helping to preserve Brazil's natural beauty and unique biodiversity through a low carbon footprint.”
Skyportz is developing a comprehensive infrastructure network in Australia to attract and support future urban and regional air mobility services. Electra and Skyportz will be preferred partners under an MOU that includes a purchase agreement for up to 100 Electra eSTOL aircraft, enabling Skyportz and its operating partners to directly connect city centres or dispersed logistics facilities and deliver cargo to remote regions. The companies are exploring opportunities in Australia for early trials leveraging Electra's full-scale technology demonstrator, which enters flight testing in the US in 2022.
“Australia exemplifies the type of market that will greatly benefit from Electra's eSTOL aircraft, with our greater payload capabilities, lower emissions, longer range and reduced operating costs,” Langford goes on. “Electra is excited to collaborate with Skyportz, in anticipation of our eSTOL aircraft flying missions in Australia ranging from on-demand intracity passenger flights to medical transport, cargo logistics, remote area missions and more.”
”At Skyportz we are assembling the infrastructure backbone to make Australia even more attractive for innovative aircraft builders looking for a place to trial real world use cases,” notes former Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Clem Newton-Brown, founder and CEO of Skyportz. “We look forward to introducing Electra to our property, freight and logistics partners and developing some viable applications for their aircraft."
Previously on 26 August, Electra and Bristow Group signed an MOU under which the two firms will cooperate on the technical development and certification as well as marketing of Electra's eSTOL aircraft, with an expected delivery of 50 eSTOL planes. The companies will explore new markets for Bristow operations using the aircraft focused on middle mile logistics for retail distribution and passenger service.