MONTE, a financier of sustainable regional aviation technologies, has placed a firm order for 25 hybrid-electric Cessna Eco Caravan aircraft with Ampaire, with an option for a further 25 of the aircraft included in the deal.
Established in 2016, Los Angeles-based Ampaire is involved in upgrading and converting existing passenger aircraft to hybrid-electric power. The Eco Caravan is a hybrid-electric upgrade of the Cessna Grand Caravan. The Eco Caravan is capable of reducing fuel and emissions by as much as 70% on shorter trips and up to 50% on longer trips, while maintaining the same payload capability and extending the aircraft’s range. When flown on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), the Eco Caravan effectively becomes carbon neutral. In comparison, the Eco Caravan’s operating cost is 25 to 40 percent below that of the Cessna Grand Caravan, though this does depend on the type of mission flown.
The aircraft can recharge its batteries in flight, thus enabling it to use any airport that Cessna Caravans currently fly to and from, irrespective of ground charging capability. The nine-passenger Eco Caravan is presently undergoing ground power tests and will fly later this year. It is the first hybrid-electric aircraft to enter the certification process with the FAA. A supplemental type certification for the upgraded aircraft is expected in 2024. It will therefore offer the earliest opportunity for regional carriers to fly in the most sustainable way possible.
MONTE focuses solely on providing financing and leasing solutions for low- and zero-emission technologies to regional aircraft operators. The company’s goal is to become the first carbon-neutral aircraft leasing company in the world by 2027.