Surf Air Mobility has ordered up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX turboprop aircraft from Textron Aviation, the manufacturer announced this week. The order represents an exclusive relationship for the two companies as Surf Air Mobility works to certify a hybrid electric aircraft based on the Grand Caravan EX.
Textron Aviation’s initial deliveries of the Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft to Surf Air Mobility are expected to begin in Q2 2022. Surf Air anticipates that its hybrid electric system for the Grand Caravan, upon certification, will power a 9-seat variant of the iconic single-engine turboprop.
“Hybrid electric propulsion technology, deployed at scale for environmental and commercial benefits, is an important part of the future of travel,” said Ron Draper, President & CEO, Textron Aviation. “This relationship with Surf Air Mobility leverages the unique performance capabilities of the Cessna Grand Caravan in both passenger and cargo operations and continues to demonstrate the aircraft’s adaptability for innovative missions and configurations.”
The hybrid electric Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft is anticipated to be utilized by Surf Air Mobility across its own network, connecting more airports with short-haul direct service across the U.S. on a path to creating a regional mass transport platform to sustainably connect communities.
“This is an opportunity to showcase the combined expertise and technologies of both Textron Aviation and Surf Air Mobility,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice president, Textron eAviation. “The outstanding capabilities and versatility of the Grand Caravan make it an ideal aircraft to take advantage of this new technology.”
“The Cessna Grand Caravan EX is one of the most adaptable and prolific aircraft in flight today. Through this exclusive relationship with Textron Aviation, we’re able to make electrified aircraft broadly available to existing and new operators, and bring the benefits of lower cost, lower emission air travel to customers faster and at scale,” said Sudhin Shahani, Co-founder, CEO & Executive Chairman, Surf Air Mobility. “We believe electrifying the Cessna Grand Caravan is the most significant step that can be made toward reduced emission flying with the quickest path to market.”
The order is subject to Surf Air obtaining financing for the aircraft.
Why it matters: Cessna’s Grand Caravan EX is a long standing product offering from the OEM and has been delivered to thousands of customers across the globe and has proved itself as a reliable platform for a wide variety of mission requirements. With the addition of hybrid electric propulsion, Surf Air has an opportunity to operate the Caravan at a significant cost advantage.