Air travel attracts a lot of criticism these days because of the carbon emissions involved in travelling by plane. On this basis, the news that the inaugural flight of the world's first commercial electric airplane has taken place successfully in Canada sounds promising.

An electric plane taking off over water in Richmond, Canada
The flight was orchestrated by Harbour Air © Harbour Air

The flight was orchestrated by Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline, and the first to be fully carbon-neutral. It has partnered with magniX, an electric aviation company, for the endeavour. The flight of the six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver took place on the Fraser River at Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in Richmond, piloted by its CEO and founder, Greg McDougall. “Today, we made history,” he said.

A yellow electric plane taking off over water in Richmond, Canada
The flight of the six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver took place on the Fraser River © Harbour Air

The ePlane was powered by a 560kW magni500 propulsion system, a high-power-density system that provides a clean and efficient way to power airplanes. The companies involved say that this historic flight signifies the start of the third era in aviation – the electric age. They are pleased with the successful flight as they are aiming to become the world’s first all-electric commercial fleet, and will now begin the certification and approval process for the propulsion system and the retrofitting of aircraft with magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology.

A yellow electric airplane
The inaugural flight was fully electric © Harbour Air

“In December 1903, the Wright Brothers launched a new era of transportation - the aviation age - with the first flight of a powered aircraft," says Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. "The transportation industry and specifically the aviation segment that has been, for the most part, stagnant since the late 1930s, is ripe for a massive disruption. Now we are proving that low-cost, environmentally-friendly commercial electric air travel can be a reality in the very near future.”

For more information, see Harbour Air's website here.

Related: How to go green when you travel

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