Heart Aerospace, a company building a 19-seater electric aircraft, has raised $35 million through Breakthrough Energy Ventures, United Airlines Ventures and Mesa Air Group Inc. In addition, Heart's seed investors EQT Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital, have participated in the round.
As part of the agreement, United and Mesa have together placed purchase orders, subject to terms, for 200 ES-19 aircraft with options for an additional hundred.
"I can't imagine a stronger coalition of partners to advance our mission to electrify short-haul air travel." says Anders Forslund, CEO of Heart Aerospace. "There's BEV - the world's most influential climate fund. There's United - one of the world's largest airlines, who's poised to be the global leader in decarbonising air travel, and there's Mesa, the largest operator of 19-seater aircraft in history. This combination of near-term commercial viability and long-term climate investment philosophy is exactly what we need to make commercial electric air travel a reality."
"Aviation is such a critical piece of our global economy. At the same time, it's a major source of carbon emissions and one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise," says Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. "We believe electric aircraft can be transformational in reducing the emissions of the industry, and enable low cost, quiet and clean regional travel on a broad scale. Heart's visionary team is developing an aircraft around its proprietary electric propulsion technology that will allow airlines to operate at a fraction of the cost of today and has the potential to change the way we fly."
With this new agreement, United Airlines is deepening its bold commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets, as well as enabling the growth of Heart Aerospace and participating in the development of aircraft that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flying altogether."
Mesa is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the USA, and has decades of experience in connecting smaller communities across America. In the 1990s, the airline was the world's largest operator of 19-seat aircraft. Over the past 30 years, as the economics of operating 19-seat aircraft became unprofitable, operators exited markets and over 1,500 nineteen seat passenger aircraft have been retired. The reduced operating costs of the ES-19 aircraft holds the promise of revitalising travel options that are currently not economically viable with traditional aircraft.
"We are proud to work with United and Heart to launch the world's first electric, regional aircraft. Mesa intends to continue its expansion through the introduction of revolutionary technology that benefits our passengers and the environment. We are delighted to build upon our relationship with United through our joint investment in Heart", says Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These technological innovations are good for the environment, will expand the national transportation system, and provide significant growth opportunities for Mesa. We look forward to reconnecting with communities and passengers we previously served."
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