Commercial electric flight still sounds like a distant proposition, but those who cannot wait to try the new form of propulsion as passengers can at least secure their seats.
Scandinavian airline SAS has announced that it will be opening reservations on June 2, 2023, for its first planned electric flight. However, the catch is that you will have to wait at least five years to take flight, with the inaugural flight scheduled for 2028.
Given the length of time before the flight, most details are not yet known, such as the flight’s schedule and the route. However, it will almost certainly be a domestic flight in one of the three countries where SAS is based: Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
Aware of this fact, SAS has promised that tickets will be able to be transferred to another person in case the original booker is unable to use it five years from now.
Tickets for the inaugural flight will cost SEK/NOK/DKK 1946 (respectively US$175/$179/$279). This figure has been chosen as a tribute to the year when SAS first started flying and includes fees and charges, that won’t be paid until 30 days before the flight takes place.
Even the aircraft type has not yet been confirmed. While SAS was non-committal in its announcement, alluding to the evaluation of several electric flight initiatives, the most likely candidate is Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 hybrid-electric aircraft, which is currently under development.
2028 is the year when the ES-30 is expected to enter service after completing its development and certification process.
In September 2022 Heart Aerospace announced that it was modifying the aircraft concept it had been working on and that it had attracted a letter of intent (LOI) from SAS, United Airlines, Finnair, as well as from other airlines. The Swedish startup abandoned its original all-electric design for a hybrid-electric propulsion system and increased the size of the aircraft, from 19 to 30 seats, renaming it the ES-30 rather than the ES-19.
At the same time, SAS, which had previously expressed its interest in the original version of Heart Aerospace’s aircraft, confirmed its intention to acquire an unspecified number of the updated ES-30 aircraft, alongside the other airlines and leasing companies that signed an LOI with the Swedish startup.