Kenya-based Z.Boskovic Air Charters is to upgrade its current and future fleet of Cessna Caravans with proprietary electrified powertrain technology from Surf Air. The company currently operates 13 Cessna Caravan, making it Kenya’s largest charter operator of the type, and intends to add two additional Caravan aircraft to its fleet by the end of 2024.
As a safari air operator, Z.Boskovic’s commitment to environmental protection is at the core of its business. By substantially lowering the carbon emissions of its Caravan fleet, the company believes it can better deliver on its mission of protecting Kenya’s natural ecosystem while being a responsible steward of the country’s wildlife. Electrified powertrains should also be quieter than their combustion counterparts due to a reduction in engine noise. Z.Boskovic recognises this is critically important to reduce the impact on wildlife and will make for a better experience for passengers onboard.
“We at Z.Boskovic Air Charters are very excited to partner with Surf Air Mobility in its development of both hybrid and fully-electric variants of the Cessna Grand Caravan and consequently to implement electric powertrains, when certified, for all our current and future Cessna Caravan aircraft,” says CEO Jimmy Kibati. “Introduction of this new technology is anchored in our strategic plan, and we are keen to work with Surf Air both technically and commercially to make this a reality in Kenya and within the Africa region.”
Surf Air is developing electrified powertrains with a target to have the equivalent power to combustion Caravan engines. As battery technology and energy density improve, Z.Boskovic and others who operate the fully electric powertrain have the potential for the range and capabilities to continue to improve.
“Z.Boskovic’s wide range of mission profiles is a testament to the Caravan’s flexibility within the regional air travel market, and we are excited for our technology to improve its business further while reducing the impact on the planet,” says Surf Air CEO Stan Little. “We believe upgrading existing fleets of Cessna Caravans, rather than creating brand new aircraft from scratch, makes our technology easier for operators to adopt, accelerates their ability to cut aviation emissions sooner and aligns our companies’ visions of making the largest impact as quickly as possible.”
Surf Air plans to make the path to electrified aircraft adoption a simple process for operators to upgrade at a cost similar to regular engine overhauls, while increasing the time between subsequent overhauls compared to combustion engines.