United Airlines plans to use its first electric plane for flights of 200 miles or less.
It also considers Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Denver International Airport to be key markets.
A United Airlines executive has provided details on how the airline could use its growing fleet of electric planes in the future, with plans for commercial flights by the end of 2030.
“Initially, we want to fly routes that are 200 miles or less,” Mike Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, the carrier’s in-house venture capital arm, said during a video interview on Thursday’s CNBC ESG Impact virtual conference. As the technology improves, the planes will have a range of 250 miles or 300 miles, Leskinen said. In recent years, United has invested in a suite of electric aircraft in an effort to future-proof its fleet and meet its net-zero carbon emissions plan by 2050. It includes a 2021 order for 100 electric aircraft being developed by Heart Aviation, Inc. as well as orders for 200 flying taxis , which is being developed by Embraer-backed Eve Air Mobility. Heart is working to have its planes flying by 2028, company founder Anders Forslund told CNBC. Eve is working with aviation regulators to be certified by 2026. Leskinen said that by 2030, United will have electric fixed-wing aircraft, including Heart’s ES-30, flying regional routes. Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Denver International Airport are considered key markets for the first batch of planes, Leskinen told CNBC. United declined to provide further comment.
United — which has also invested in supersonic jets — isn’t the only airline making heavy use of electrified aircraft as a way to meet climate goals.
Air Canada ordered 30 ES-30 electric aircraft from Heart Aerospace in September.
While JetBlue, American and Virgin Atlantic are among the airlines that have placed orders with or supported EVTOL manufacturers.