Hawaii airline to test electric hybrid for commercial flight

Hawaii airline to test electric hybrid for commercial flight

KAHULUI — Hybrid electric planes will be put to the test by a Hawaii airline hoping to use them for short-haul commercial flights.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday that Mokulele Airlines and Los Angeles-based aircraft design firm Ampaire plan to test a model hybrid on Mokulele’s Maui route in September or October.

The companies say a hybrid plane would provide lower operational costs as well as additional routes and more frequent flights. Hawaii is a good fit for the service because communities rely on short-haul flights to travel between islands.

The collaboration will include the loan of Mokulele’s pilots and hangar space at Kahului Airport on Maui to Ampaire.

Officials say Mokulele was acquired in February by Southern Airways, but the partnership with Ampaire will continue.

In October 2017 reports emerged that a Boeing-backed start-up in partnership with JetBlue are looking for hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to take flight for JetBlue by 2022.

And back in October 2018 Heathrow Airport promised that the first electric-hybrid aircraft to use the airport will see landing charges waived for a year.