Air Canada on Thursday said it would buy electric planes for the first time with the acquisition of 30 battery-powered regional aircraft from Heart Aerospace, as more airlines turn to new technologies to lower emissions and fuel costs. Global airlines are stepping up plans to tackle climate change as they face mounting pressure from regulators and environmental groups over the impact of billions of extra passengers expected to take to the skies in coming decades. Sweden-based Heart's electric-hybrid aircraft under development will have capacity for up to 30 passengers and generate zero emissions when they enter service, which is expected in 2028, Canada's largest carrier said in a release.
Canada's largest carrier has wrestled with complaints over delayed and cancelled flights, but said in a statement it saw improvements in baggage handling and on-time performance during the week of Aug. 8, compared with the week of June 27. Carriers in the U.S. and Canada have cut thousands of flights as soaring travel demand following a pandemic-induced slump leads to cases of long lines and lost baggage at some major airports. Montreal-based Air Canada said in June it would cut its summer schedule to reduce passenger flows to manageable levels.
North American carriers are flying more passengers after a pandemic-induced slump, but face rising labor costs and high jet fuel prices, along with staffing shortages and congestion at some airports. Canada's largest carrier has wrestled with complaints over long lines and lost luggage at some hubs, but executives see improvements in baggage handling and demand for international travel as bright spots. Air Canada expects 2022 adjusted cost per available seat mile to be up about 15% to 17%, above 2019 levels, compared with a previous forecast of 13% to 15% higher.