KLM Flight Academy in the Netherlands has made purchase deposits on 14 aircraft in the first major air carrier deal with Colorado electric airplane pioneer Bye Aerospace.
The purchase agreement announced September 22 covers six Bye eFlyer 2 aircraft with two seats and 110kW (150 horsepower) electric motors powered by up to six lithium-ion battery packs and a $489,000 list price, along with eight of the four-seat eFlyer 4 variants. Bye Aerospace announced in February that it had begun building the three conforming prototypes of the eFlyer 2 that will be flown to achieve what the company hopes will be the first FAA certification of an all-electric aircraft.
Pilots training for Part 121 operations may encounter electric aircraft in line service eventually, though Part 135 charter operations will likely begin sooner. Bye Aerospace is also working on an eFlyer 800 twin that aims to replace current turboprop twins by offering a dramatic reduction in operating costs.
Meanwhile, ab initio airline training programs will require single-motor models to replace the current fleet of single-engine piston trainers, and KLM Flight Academy Managing Director Bart de Vries said electric aircraft are part of the parent company’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint.
“Today we celebrate our history, but more importantly, we look to the future,” de Vries said, in the news release. “We are excited to become part of the eFlyer development of Bye Aerospace and look forward to becoming a zero-emission flight academy in support of our parent company’s development and strategy.”