As industries begin to shift away from fossil fuels, Ampaire is banking on its line of hybrid-electric airplanes to revolutionize air travel. The company recently announced its historic first flight of an existing airline route in Hawaii.
Kevin Noertker, Ampaire CEO, said not only would the environment reap the biggest benefits from a reduction of emissions, but the airline industry could also soar to new heights.
"For the airlines, the biggest impact is reduced cost of operation. Airlines care about the total cost of ownership and operation for their planes. By switching to a hybrid plane, you could reduce that fuel burn by up to 50 percent," Noertker told Cheddar.
The CEO also noted that a fully electric plane would reduce emissions by more than 90 percent.
After launching in 2016 and constructing an aircraft for the last two years, paid flights for the company are on the horizon. "We're looking at about a three-year timeline before we get certification to deploy these planes in that commercial operation," Noertker said.
While the company gears up for commercial flights, it has already been conducting demonstrations under the FAA's experimental market survey, which allows passengers and potential Ampaire customers to fly.
Last month, the company became the first to ever demonstrate a hybrid-electric flight in Maui, which went from Kahului to Hana in about 20 minutes. Like other industries, Ampaire's ability to continue developing and moving forward with test flights, particularly in Hawaii, was impacted by pandemic-related restrictions.
The hybrid-electric planes, according to Noertker, while capable of long-distance flights, are optimal for relatively short-distances. Over the next five to 10 years, however, there are plans to produce an aircraft that can hold up to 20 passengers and will fly "routes between 50 and 500 miles."
"The reality is most routes that airlines like to fly are about 100 miles," Noertker said.