Australia’s leading seaplane operator Sydney Seaplanes is planning to go electric – signing an agreement with magniX and Dante Aeronautical to convert a Cessna Caravan to service the popular route between Sydney Harbour and nearby Palm Beach.
Sydney Seaplanes plans to extend the electric aircraft service to other routes in NSW and the ACT.
“We are extremely excited to be the first Australian airline to seek regulatory approval to commence fully electric, nil-emissions commercial flights,” said Sydney Seaplanes CEO Aaron Shaw.
“Combined with our commitment to use solar technology in our charging facilities, this puts us in a very strong position to become the world’s first fully electric nil-emissions airline, subject to the speed of regulatory approvals.”
The company will work with US-Australian engine maker magniX and Dante Aeronautical, a developer and integrator of electric and hybrid aviation concepts, to convert the Cessna Caravan into the first all-electric commercial aircraft certified by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
The companies expect to complete ergulatory approvals by the end of the first quarter of 2023, which would immediately allow Sydney Seaplanes the opportunity to start the route from Rose Bay to Palm Beach and offer its certificate program to other Caravan operators in the region.
“That Australia’s, and potentially the world’s, first fully electric nil-emissions airline will be based at Australia’s very first commercial airport at Rose Bay has a beautiful synchronicity to it,” Shaw said.
“Electric technology has the potential to completely transform aviation. The environmental benefits are clear, with nil-emissions travel already technically possible on shorter journeys and with the exponential improvement in battery technologies range will continue to increase.
“This will enable us to expand our electric services to other New South Wales and ACT destinations, including Canberra”
MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski said it is another milestone for the electric aviation revolution.
“Expanding with STC partners globally on more and more aircraft platforms means more sustainable air travel brought to market and to the masses. And for operators, the all-electric aircraft provides the benefits of clean, cost-effective aviation.”
This partnership will also serve to solidify the leading position in electric aviation that magniX has secured for itself, following a year after the company flew the world’s first commercial all-electric aircraft, a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver.
With engineering facilities in both Redmond, Washington, in the United States, and in Australia, magniX also successfully flew the largest all-electric commercial aircraft, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, in Washington earlier this year.
“The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades,” Ganzarski said in May.
“This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports. These electric commercial aircraft will enable the offering of flying services of people and packages in a way previously not possible.”