Harbour Air to test world's first fully electric commercial aircraft

Ready for electric test flight

Harbour Air plans to test-fly what it calls the “world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft” Dec. 11 at Vancouver International Airport’s south terminal.

The Beaver seaplane is retrofitted with a 750 horsepower all-electric magni500 propulsion system, Harbour Air says.

The company has been going through pre-flight checks and testing to ensure that crews are prepared.

Harbour Air’s 450 or so employees operate up to 300 daily flights using 53 planes in B.C. and Washington state.

The company is a pioneer in trying to get Transportation Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority to regulate electric-powered, commercial planes. That is something that neither currently does.

Harbour Air also dubs itself as North America’s largest and first fully carbon-neutral airline.

Its plan is to eventually have a fleet of electric seaplanes, but it may be several years before any electric planes carry passengers to and from Vancouver.

Harbour Air CEO Greg McDougall said earlier this year that the current electric technology is only appropriate for shorter Harbour Air flights, such as between Nanaimo and Vancouver.

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