Surf Air Mobility has paid the deposit for the first 20 Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft that will form part of its electric and hybrid-electric fleet.
Surf Air and Textron Aviation, which builds Cessna aircraft, announced on September 26, 2023, that the confirmed deliveries demonstrate progress from the previously announced initial fleet order of up to 100 aircraft with options for 50 additional aircraft.
This exclusive relationship supports Surf Air Mobility’s development of an electrified Cessna Grand Caravan EX, targeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification in 2026.
The aircraft will be upgraded to Surf Air Mobility’s proprietary electric or hybrid-electric powertrain technology.
Surf Air Mobility, a regional air mobility platform, plans to make electrified aircraft broadly available to new and existing operators.
Surf Air Mobility will also be the exclusive provider to Textron Aviation of certain battery electric and hybrid electric powertrain technology for the Cessna Grand Caravan.
“We know from our experience that people are looking for faster, affordable, and cleaner regional travel, and we are building the ecosystem to accelerate the industry’s adoption of electric flight. We believe that significantly reducing the emissions from this category of aircraft will be the biggest step we can take toward de-carbonization in this decade,” Sudhin Shahani, co-founder of Surf Air Mobility, said.
Surf Air Mobility’s vision is to use both an electric and hybrid-electric Cessna Grand Caravan across its network, “connecting more airports with short-haul direct service while also building a regional mass transport platform to sustainably connect communities across North America”.
“We are excited to see Surf Air’s progress in expanding their fleet with deliveries expected to begin early next year,” Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president, Textron Aviation Global Sales and Flight Operations, said. “The Cessna Caravan’s adaptability for passenger and cargo operations makes it an ideal platform for hybrid electric and electric propulsion innovations. This exclusive relationship is a demonstration of Textron Aviation’s commitment to the future of sustainable flight.”
According to Surf Air Mobility the electrified planes will reduce direct operating costs by 25-50% and direct carbon emissions by up to 50-100% while providing similar performance to the current models.
The aircraft should be immediately operable at more than 5,000 public use airports across the United States with no charging stations required for the hybrid-electric powertrain iterations.