A new company working to develop shared charter flights as a more-convenient alternative to airline travel has committed to buying 50 aircraft from an innovator striving to put electric-propulsion airplanes in the sky.
Personal Airline Exchange, creator of a platform to link passengers and Part 135 charter operators for “the first scalable solution for on-demand travel,” said it placed an order for 50 electric commuter aircraft from Ampaire, a Los Angeles company “on a mission to be the world’s most trusted developer of practical and compelling electric aircraft.”
“PAX intends to initially pilot its service with Ampaire’s aircraft in Southern California before scaling nationwide,” PAX CEO Mike Azzarello said in a June 18 news release issued by both organizations.
Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker noted that Ampaire’s electric pre-production prototype, a twin Cessna 337 Skymaster modified with an electric motor in place of its rear engine, “is flying right now and performing beautifully.” He said a second aircraft will soon demonstrate daily flight operations on a commercial route in Hawaii. A 2021 certification goal has been set.
According to the announcement, “Ampaire’s hybrid aircraft will help PAX service thousands of airports of all sizes with industry-leading operating costs.”
PAX said its platform creates shared flights and makes them available on a per-seat basis using “behavioral economics and artificial intelligence.”
PAX added that it intends to reserve up to the first 1,000 Ampaire TailWind electric jets when they become available. The new-design aircraft “will leverage proven propulsion technology from Ampaire’s retrofit aircraft in order to enable a step change in aircraft performance, passenger comfort, and operating economics,” the announcement said.