Helijet has plans to become the first Canadian air carrier to provide passenger and cargo services using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The company announced that they have placed firm orders for all electric helicopters known as “ALIA eVTOL” aircrafts from BETA Technologies based in Burlington, Vermont.
Helijet has placed an order for at least four of the aircraft, and plans to integrate them into its existing network of daily flight services. The company hopes the revolutionary technology will provide quieter, lower-cost, sustainable air transportation for travellers in southwestern B.C. and the Pacific Northwest.
B.C. Premier David Eby was at the event noting the province is committed to embracing and supporting sustainable aviation technology and related infrastructure opportunities.
“This provincial government recognizes the potential of advanced air mobility to decarbonize the aviation sector, improve regional connectivity, improve emergency response times and introduce new manufacturing opportunities in our province,” said Eby.
This announcement comes six months after Harbour-Air’s southwestern B.C. flight tour showcasing their fully electric sea-plane or “ePlane.”
Helijet is hopeful the electric aircraft will have tremendous potential to enhance Helijet’s provision of emergency response, air ambulance and organ transfer services in the Lower Mainland, as well as support rural and remote communities that do not have access to affordable and convenient air services.
The plane manufacturer BETA Technologies is hoping to expand into Canada with other airlines and commercial customers in the country, Skye Carapetyan, Sales Director for BETA is excited for the technology to arrive in Canada.
“In addition to it’s net zero emissions, the electric simple design of our aircraft also offers more reliability and lower cost. Between the fractional cost of electricity compared to fuel and the reduced maintenance of the electric design, our ALIA aircraft wants to work,” said Carapetyan.
The five-passenger plus a pilot aircraft is currently in advanced flight tests and development in order to be certified by 2026. Helijet says the aircrafts will be available for private and commercial service shortly thereafter.