A new partnership between Surf Air Mobility and Textron Aviation will aim to develop electrified Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, with hybrid-electric versions of the plane to be available in 2024, the companies announced on July 20.
Surf Air Mobility will purchase 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprops from Textron as part of the agreement, according to the announcement. The hybrid-electric version of the Cessna Grand Caravan will be a 9-seat variant of the aircraft.
“The Cessna Grand Caravan EX is one of the most adaptable and prolific aircraft in flight today. Through this exclusive relationship with Textron Aviation, we’re able to make electrified aircraft broadly available to existing and new operators and bring the benefits of lower cost, lower emission air travel to customers faster and at scale,” Sudhin Shahani, co-founder, CEO and executive chairman at Surf Air Mobility,” said in a statement. “We believe electrifying the Cessna Grand Caravan is the most significant step that can be made toward reduced emission flying with the quickest path to market.”
A hybrid-electric Cessna Grand Caravan could reduce operating costs and carbon emissions by 25 percent while providing similar performance as a turbine engine, according to the announcement. The aircraft would also be immediately operable at public-use airports because it does not need charging stations.
“Hybrid electric propulsion technology, deployed at scale for environmental and commercial benefits, is an important part of the future of travel,” Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation, said in a statement. “This relationship with Surf Air Mobility leverages the unique performance capabilities of the Cessna Grand Caravan in both passenger and cargo operations, and continues to demonstrate the aircraft’s adaptability for innovative missions and configurations.”
Surf Air Mobility wants to deploy the hybrid-electric Cessna Grand Caravan on its network to connect more airports with short-haul direct service, according to the announcement.
“This is an opportunity to showcase the combined expertise and technologies of both Textron Aviation and Surf Air Mobility,” Rob Scholl, senior vice president at Textron eAviation, said in a statement. “The outstanding capabilities and versatility of the Grand Caravan make it an ideal aircraft to take advantage of this new technology.”
Existing Cessna Grand Caravan owners will have the ability to convert to hybrid-electric systems, according to the release. This will be available in 2024.
Surf Air Mobility, a regional air travel service, announced an agreement to purchase the hybrid-electric aircraft company Ampaire in February.
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