Electric Airplanes: The Future of Aviation



“Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats, we appreciate your patience as we refuel the plane,” might become a phrase of the past. Being replaced with “as we charge the batteries,” is seeming more likely each day. Two startups are beginning to dip their toes in electric airplanes, and they are confident, thanks to the support of some major airlines, that their vision will shortly become a reality.


Less than a month ago, young company, Zunam Aero announced their projections for a fleet of electric planes to be born in the next decade. However, international travelers shouldn’t get their hopes too high, as the company is only looking into getting their roots in domestic travel, specifically within a 700 mile, or less, travel distance. Their planes will likely seat only 10-50 people and have a key objective of reducing traffic in highly-populated areas. Zunum Aero’s efforts are currently being backed by Boeing and JetBlue, and their parent role includes hooking investors early enough to stay ahead of any technology curves to come along during the process.


In addition to creating a faster travel experience, the electric planes are guaranteed to better the environment as a whole. According to MIT Technology Review, the aviation industry is responsible for the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the entire country of Germany. By even cutting down impacts of fuel for one region of the world, better air quality conditions become more likely. Additionally, planes running on electricity create much less noise than those running on fuel, providing the ears of residents living near airports some relief.


As there are with any new concepts or inventions, the companies looking to delve into electric airplanes will face some obstacles. Having a plane that operates solely on batteries will rely heavily on the proper weight and distribution of every aspect of the model. As many of you know the battery in our cars or smartphones get easily overheated when using a great amount of energy. This being said, maintaining a relatively cool battery temperature is crucial in the process of bringing the electric airplanes to life.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, aviation has drastically changed in many ways throughout its century-long lifespan. With the serious reality of electric airplanes making waves, we can only expect to see these developments continue as the years go by. With the benefits that will come from battery powered flights, I truly hope this industry becomes successful in its initial growth period.

Dave Pflieger

Dave Pflieger is currently the CEO of Island Air and previously the President and CEO of Silver Airways. Previously, Dave Pflieger was the CEO & Managing Director of Air Pacific (later Fiji Airways). Before joining Air Pacific, Mr. Pflieger was a Founding Officer and Senior Vice President at Virgin America from 2004 to 2010.

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