United Airlines is partnering with Mesa Air and Breakthrough Energy Ventures to invest in the electric aircraft startup, Heart Aerospace.
Heart Aerospace is developing what is called the ES-19. It is an electric airplane that has 19 seats that could fly customers up to 250 miles without refueling. Heart plans to have operational aircraft before the end of the decade.
United has agreed in principle to buy 100 of the aircraft. Mesa, who is a key strategic partner with United has also agreed to buy 100 planes.
United Committed to a Cleaner Energy Future
Michael Leskinen, United's Vice President of Development & Investor Relations, as well as UAV's President, said they (United) want to be at the forefront of clean energy and a smaller carbon footprint...
"Breakthrough Energy Ventures is the leading voice of investors who are supporting clean-energy technology creation. We share their view that we have to build companies who have real potential to change how industries operate and, in our case, that means investing in companies like Heart Aerospace who are developing a viable electric airliner." said Leskinen.
He also asserted that United's customers also want 'ownership' in forwarding clean energy initiatives...
"We recognize that customers want even more ownership of their own carbon emissions footprint. We're proud to partner with Mesa Air Group to bring electric aircraft to our customers earlier than any other US airliner. Mesa's long serving CEO, Jonathan Ornstein has shown visionary leadership in the field of electric-powered flight."
Breakthrough Energy Also Committed to Lower Carbon Emissions in Aerospace
"Aviation is such a critical piece of our global economy. At the same time, it's a major source of carbon emissions and one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize," said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. "We believe electric aircraft can be transformational in reducing the emissions of the industry, and enable low cost, quiet and clean regional travel on a broad scale. Heart's visionary team is developing an aircraft around its proprietary electric motor technology that will allow airlines to operate at a fraction of the cost of today and has the potential to change the way we fly."
Heart Aerospace last year unveiled the first fully electric, 19-seat plane that will emit zero emissions. The ES-19 is set to compete with fossil fuel powered aircraft by using a battery instead of jet fuel and an electric motor instead of a jet engine for propulsion. When operational, it could replace more than 100 United regional flights out of most hubs once in service with their bigger jets.