British Columbia

B.C. seaplane company's plan for electric fleet is set for take off

Harbour Airlines, which operates 30,000 flights each year on routes between Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and other destinations, is partnering with Washington-state-based engineering firm MagniX with the goal of becoming the world's first all-electric airline.

The fleet will be the world's first electric seaplane in a commercial airline operation

Harbour Air Otter flies over downtown Vancouver near Canada Place (Jean Marie Urlacher)

A seaplane company in British Columbia says it is partnering with an engineering firm with the goal of becoming the world's first all-electric airline.

Harbour Airlines operates 30,000 flights each year on 12 routes between Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and other destinations in those areas.

It says in a news release that it's partnering with MagniX, a Washington-state-based firm that has developed an electric propulsion system, to modify its commercial fleet.

The fleet will be powered by the Magni500, a 750 horsepower electric motor.

The release says, if successful, the partnership will create the world's first completely electric commercial seaplane fleet.

Harbour Air has partnered with Washington state-based engineering firm MagniX to create an all-electric commercial seaplane fleet. (Harbour Air)

The first aircraft to be converted will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, a six passenger plane, and the companies expect to conduct the first tests late this year.

"In 2018, 75 per cent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range," Roei Ganzarski, CEO of MagniX, said in the statement.

"With MagniX's new propulsion systems coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked 'middle mile' range."

Harbour Air founder Greg McDougall announces plans to create an all-electric commercial seaplane fleet in Vancouver, March 26, 2019 (Yvette Brend CBC)

Greg McDougall, Harbour Air's founder and CEO, says his company is North America's largest seaplane airline and also became its first fully carbon-neutral airline in 2007.

"Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people's lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion," he said in the statement.

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