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First all-electric commercial plane takes off – and shows the sky is the limit

An electric-powered plane operated by Harbour Air takes off on a test flight in Richmond, Canada, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
An electric-powered plane operated by Harbour Air takes off on a test flight in Richmond, Canada, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. FRANCE 24
2 min

The world’s first all-electric commercial plane made its maiden test flight on Tuesday, taking to the skies above Richmond, Canada, in what is hoped will be a major step towards regular flights on electric-powered aircraft.

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The flight was operated by Vancouver-based Harbour Air Seaplanes, using a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver retrofitted with a 750-horsepower electric motor made by US manufacturer magniX.

“It went flawlessly,” Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, told AFP. “Everything we could have expected and dreamed of of a first electric aircraft happened.”

Though the short test flight lasted just 15 minutes, it was enough to show that electric-powered aircraft have a future in commercial aviation, said Ganzarski.

"This proves that commercial aviation in an all-electric form can work," he said.

Harbour Air and magniX are hoping to gain approval to fit the engines to the rest of the airline’s fleet and begin using the electric-powered planes to carry passengers by 2022 on its 12 routes in the US and Canada.

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