Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing and JetBlue Technology Ventures have decided to join forces and invest in what many have described as the future of aircraft technology: Zunum Aero’s hybrid electric aircraft.
With the industry finding itself in a bit of a technological rut, the company’s new, eco-friendly aircraft design has raised a lot of eyebrows within the aeronautical industry, with its’ currently proposed regional aircraft able to hold between 10 and 50 passengers based on its’ configuration, and would have an operational range of 1,000 miles. Powered by a hybrid propulsion system consisting primarily of a set of batteries and a diesel or turbine-based backup power generator.
There are still a few hick-ups to be sorted out and details finalized, but most pundits don’t expect the plane to advance past a concept for at least the next decade. Despite this, early data results suggest it could be deliver up to 80% less carbon emissions that current aircraft, and a few tweaks could see it drop to 0% emissions. Add this to its’ predicted 20 year service life, and you can understand why Boeing and JetBlue were interested in taking part in Zunum Aero’s takeoff.
The industry is expected to shift towards more environmentally sustainable options, and with such technology becoming increasingly cheaper and more accessible, companies with big ideas like Zunum are set to take the market by storm. On top of its’ eco-friendly approach, these aircraft are also expected to be a lot cheaper to run and service.
Boeing’s Vice President of strategy, Steve Nordlund, explained in a statement how the company was proud to be investing in the future, pointing out that they believe that Zunum’s hybrid electric technology will be a major player in the future. Whilst the total amounts of the investments were undisclosed, Zunum Aero founder and CEO Ashish Kumar told the press he was “very fortunate to have backers like JetBlue and Boeing”. In a statement, JetBlue executive Bonny Simi also expressed their interest in pushing the aeronautical industry limits:
“At JetBlue Technology Ventures, our goal is to be part of a disruptive force rather than the one being disrupted, and we seek new technologies that look to change the game. As a company that is also deeply committed to innovation in sustainable travel, we believe that Zunum and its quiet, environmentally friendly aircraft will light up a vast network of underutilized airports and reinvent regional travel.”