WingTips has secured an order for five of Ampaire’s latest Eco Caravan aircraft. These new eco-friendly-high-efficiency aircraft will operate short-haul routes across the southwestern United States. WingTips hopes to cut both travel time and emissions with these new aircraft.
The first of many orders
On July 20th, 2022, Ampaire announced the placement of 5 orders for the new Eco Caravan aircraft. All five were ordered by WingTips, a company that operated on-demand charter flights. These new aircraft will drastically cut both operating costs and emissions. Wing tips operates flights out of small general aviation airports across California, Nevada, and Arizona.
WingTips is one of many companies that utilizes the Grand Caravan for charter operations. Photo: magniX
It operates flights with legs between 100 and 400 nautical miles. Mike Azzarello the CEO of WingTips shared the partnership’s vision when he said,
“Our objective is to close the gap with the cost of driving while cutting travel time up to 75 percent. Working with Ampaire, we’ll be able to achieve this in a sustainable way. The Eco-Caravan operates within existing airport infrastructure, putting us years ahead of competitors that need major infrastructure investment in order to operate.”
WingTips sees its on-demand service to small airports as an operational advantage over its competition that operates out of larger airports. Another 175 orders for the Eco Caravan are anticipated by both companies to come as WingTips accomplishes its goals of expanding nationally.
An aircraft of tomorrow
The first engine runs conducted for this aircraft took place in April 2022. Ampaire expects to secure a supplemental type certificate from the FAA by the end of 2024. This certificate will permit these aircraft to operate for commercial use despite their new modifications.
The Eco Caravan is a Cessna Grand Caravan with an all-new-hybrid-electric propulsion system. The upgrade reportedly does not hinder the performance of the aircraft. Ampaire reports that it can carry the same payload of 11 passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo. On longer trips, it has an estimated 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. On shorter trips, that number can climb as high as 70 percent. Nearly all emissions are eliminated with the use of sustainable fuel in this system.
WingTips hopes to utilize the Grand Caravan for years to come with more orders on the way. Photo: Getty Images
The upgraded aircraft boasts impressive cost reduction numbers. Depending on the route structure, operating costs are predicted to drop between 25 and 40 percent from that of the traditional caravans. Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker shared the importance of these innovations by stating,
“The starting point for moving toward zero emissions is with low-emission hybrid-electric aircraft such as the Eco Caravan.”
He went on to share the vision of the two companies when he said,
“Ampaire and WingTips share a vision of reducing the cost and increasing the convenience of regional air travel while addressing a major source of harmful greenhouse gas emissions,”
WingTips has built a successful business model flying on-demand charter routes across the southwestern United States. With these new eco-friendly-high-efficiency aircraft, it can cut its costs even further. It hopes that this will bring an increase in profit-margin sufficient to fuel national growth. Only five orders are secured, however, both companies forese a bright partnership for years to come.
Do you think that these new aircraft will have a significant impact on the air transit industry? Let us know in the comments below.