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Zunum Aero

Four years is an ambitious schedule to develop, manufacture and certify a brand new hybrid-electric airliner but that’s the target set by Boeing-backed startup Zunum Aero to deliver its first production aircraft.

The launch customer for Zunum Aero’s 12-seat ZA10 is JetSuite, a small charter airline backed by both JetBlue Airways and Qatar Airways.

Ashish Kumar, Zunum’s chief executive officer, said, “We [JetSuite and Zunum] have a shared vision for fundamentally transforming and improving the way that people live and travel.”

The plan is for Zunum to provide the ZA10, with a range of 700 miles, for JetSuite’s private charter operation in 2022, and the larger ZA50, with a 1,000-mile range, for the JetSuiteX scheduled flight service in the mid-2020s.

JetSuiteX currently operates a scheduled service along the US West Coast flying Embraer 30-seat ERJ135 regional jets. The point-of-difference with other airlines is that JetSuiteX has private air terminals in California and Las Vegas.

Zunum is developing and testing prototype electric systems and components for a prototype to be built in 2019, followed by flight testing. Bloomberg reports that Zunum is planning to adapt an existing airliner airframe at first to speed up the development process.

Zunum Aero
JetSuiteX