United, Mesa pledge to buy 200 short-haul electric planes from Heart Aerospace

Heart Aerospace

The Swedish aerospace start-up Heart Aerospace has received an order for 200 electric ES-19 planes. The 19-seat aircraft is supposed to fly customers of United Airlines and Mesa Airlines up to 250 miles before 2026.

On July 13, 2021, United Airlines, Mesa Airlines, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) signed an agreement of purchase for a total of 200 electric ES-19 aircraft. The Chicago-based United Airlines agreed to put an investment into the Swedish startup by acquiring 100 ES-19 planes if the aircraft meets the air carrier’s safety, business, and operating requirements. 

The airline plans to operate the electric aircraft on more than 100 regional routes out of most of its hubs, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Purdue University Airport (LAF), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Modesto City-County Airport (MOD).  With the recent agreement, the airline deepened its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050. 

Michael Leskinen, the Vice President for Corporate Development and Investor Relations of United, said that the airline expected the short-haul regional air travel market to play a key role in the evolution of the electric aircraft.  

“As battery technology improves, larger-gauge aircraft should become viable but we’re not going to wait to begin the journey,” Leskinen was quoted in the company’s statement.

“That’s why we’re looking forward to beginning our work with Heart, so that, together, we can scale the availability of electric airliners and use them for passenger flights within the next five years,” he added.

Meanwhile, another American air carrier Mesa Airlines has also ordered 100 electric aircraft, giving the Swedish manufacturer the task to build a total of 200 planes for both carriers.

While considering aviation as a critical piece of the global economy, Carmichael Roberts, the founder of BEV, the third investor of the deal, believed that the new electric aircraft could help the aviation industry to reduce emissions rates as well as enable low cost, quiet, and clean regional travel. 

In a statement to the media, Roberts outlined that a new proprietary electric motor technology had the potential to make air flights to cost just a fraction of what they do today.  

By utilizing electric motors instead of aircraft engines and batteries used in electric cars instead of jet fuel, the new Heart ES-19 electric plane is promised to have zero operational emissions. 

The ES-19 plane will be introduced to the market as early as 2026, the manufacturer hopes. 


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