The US startup Zunum, which is supported by Boeing, has found its first customer for the twelve-seated hybrid aircraft: The California-based charter company JetSuite will purchase up to 100 of the hybrid aircraft.
Zunum is still planning to bring their hybrid aircraft to the market in 2022. This will make JetSuite the first customer to build a fleet based on the aircraft. According to Bloomberg, the company is aiming to expand to serve customers across the USA. The hybrid planes could be in both JetSuites private as well as in public charter flight divisions.
Zunum Aero announced the technical details behind their hybrid plane some time ago: the plane will be propelled by two electric motors and one combustion motor, allowing for up to twelve people to fly as passengers and reaching speeds up to 550 km/h. The manufacturer also estimates that advances in battery technology will enable future versions over the next decade to carry up to 50 passengers with a 1,600 km range.
In the deal between Zunum and JetSuite, it is estimated that JetBlue Airways played a larger role in the deal, as the company is an investor in Zunum, alongside Boeing, as well as a strategic partner for JetSuite. JetSuite’s CEO is additionally also a manager for JetBlue; Alex Wilcox.