"The first step in our plan is to create the propulsion system that enables electric flight for everyone"
Kieran Duncan, Founder/CEO
We think fast, clean and affordable flight should be available for everyone to ensure an inspiring future for aerospace in the face of the greatest challenge we have ever encountered, climate change.
Aircraft are not currently designed for the end user “the passenger”.
We have seen a shift over the past decade to the low cost carrier model, their success shows us that airlines are now mostly competing on price. The reality is that the majority of passengers want the lowest fare because everything else about the experience is comparable. If you’ve taken a flight recently, it's likely that no matter the airline or aircraft, you’ve taken the same amount of time through security, to take the same type of sucky seating, on the same loud aircraft with the same annoying pressure change, same sized windows and the flight took the same time as it would with any other airline/aircraft. The only difference is the price you paid for the ticket.
Starting an airline today is crazy, and that’s by our standards. Every year tens of airlines fail with significant spikes with upturns in oil prices. The majority of insolvencies are attributed to competition or fuel prices. Rolling back the customer experience to be competitive is not a choice but what must be done to stay profitable. Other measures like decreasing turnaround time are being reduced at the cost of the passenger (no more seat pockets for you), all in a desperate bid to increase aircraft utilisation.
An average of 25% of airline costs are attributable to fuel alone with the next biggest hit being maintenance. This makes running a profitable airline such a struggle that passenger experience just can't be a primary focus.
The Aircraft Manufacturer
Due to a history of high profile failures, the aerospace industry has become one of the most conservative industries on the planet. To meet the challenges facing us today we need to take risks on new architectures and radical designs that promise a better future for our planet.
Aircraft alone contribute 3% of global emissions and are projected to be responsible for 5% of all warming effects by 2050 (NASA,2015). Climate change is the defining problem of our generation and rapid decarbonisation of our transport system is required to prevent further catastrophic damage, pushing towards ‘carbon balance’. It also turns out that the aerospace industry is the hardest of any transport sector to decarbonise, a good place for a start-up.
So here’s what we propose; lets address these problems at every point in the chain from passenger to airframer. Let's make an airliner for passengers and recover the nature of aircraft to inspire and excite. When Charles Lindbergh made the first flight across the Atlantic, to the aviators like Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart, to the first supersonic passenger jet, aerospace has been exciting, and while the longest haul airliner and the biggest airliner (now retiring) are great, they aren’t the step change that is needed to re-excite the public.
Let's make flying compelling, we want passengers to choose to fly because they love it, not because it’s a necessity.
Firstly, let's take the boot off of airlines and allow them to breathe easy with an aircraft that costs a fraction of today’s aircraft to operate, allowing airlines to focus on the passenger experience and open up opportunities for families that can't afford to fly, rather than just surviving the next change in oil prices.
Let’s show the most conservative industry in the world that “fortune favors the brave” and set the bar of creating the next generation of airliners high. Sustainability is a must, and it’s going to be tough, but by taking risks we can change the course of an industry.
For the world, let's build a regional aircraft that’s kerosene free and allow more people than ever, access to opportunities further afield. Commuting to work via air should be routine. An airliner that costs less than long distance trains. After all an aircraft is just a train that doesn’t need tracks, why should it be more expensive?
The first step in our plan is to create the propulsion system that enables electric flight for everyone, that's electric aircraft start-ups and legacy manufacturers pursuing electrification. Having extensively modeled the requirements of electric aircraft we deeply understand the role of the propulsion system and the characteristics it must bring to the table.
That’s what we mean when we say we want fast, clean and inspiring flight for everyone.