US-based regional airline Republic Airways (Republic) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to become a strategic advisor to Aura Aero, the French electric aircraft developer/manufacturer.
Aura Aero is seeking to become a pioneer in decarbonised aviation by developing its ERA (Electric Regional Aircraft), an electric-powered 19-seater regional aircraft.
Under the terms of the MoU, Republic will provide strategic and operational advice to Aero Aura on its ERA program, offering the manufacturer support on the technical and commercial aspects of the ERA’s development.
Indianapolis-based Republic Airways is one of the largest regional airlines in North America. The carrier operates 221 Embraer E170/175 regional jet aircraft, serving almost 100 destinations across North America. The airline employs over 6,000 employees and operates feeder and regional services under its own brand in addition to scheduled services under codeshare agreements with Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines.
With its long-standing expertise in regional aviation, Aura Aero hopes that Republic’s involvement will enhance the company’s ability to design and certify a sustainable aircraft that will be commercially viable in the highly competitive North American regional market.
Announcing the signing of the MOU with Republic, Jérémy Caussade, President and Co-founder of Aura Aero, said: “We are very proud to have Republic advising us on the requirements needed for a competitive aircraft in North America. At Aura Aero, we are convinced that electric is the future of regional aviation, and we want to pave the way for this revolution.”
ERA is described by Aura Aero as an all-new ‘eco-responsible’ aircraft. Integrating design innovations in the new aircraft’s avionic, aerodynamic and propellers, Aura Aero states that the ERA will be an “exceptionally versatile aircraft”.
The aircraft is being designed to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century by reducing CO2 emissions by up to 80% compared to other more conventional powered aircraft in the same category.
ERA to encompass advanced technologies
The ERA has been designed to carry up to 19 passengers, or 1,900kg of freight. The aircraft layout can also be configured for business aviation purposes, with a lower number of seats offering enhanced levels of onboard passenger comfort.
The new aircraft will also feature a pressurized passenger cabin, offering operators the capability to fly at higher altitudes above inclement weather conditions.
According to Aura Aero, the ERA will offer a range of up to 1,440km (900 miles) at a cruise speed of 250 knots.
Additionally, the ERA will be capable of operating from runways ranging in size from those found at the largest of international airports to shorter unprepared runways found at more remote airfields. Its STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) capabilities allow it to operate from runways as short as 800 meters (2,624ft).
The ERA already boasts significant commercial interest from potential operators. To date, the new aircraft has built up a healthy order book of almost 350 signed letters of intent, representing a total value of approximately $3.75 billion.
Aura Aero is currently planning for ERA’s first flight in 2026 and an entry into commercial service by 2028.