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EasyJet outlines 'progress' on electric jet

"Progress has been made" by EasyJet's US partner Wright Electric toward developing an electric passenger airliner capable of flying up to 270nm (500km), the UK budget carrier has declared.

Wright Electric has applied for a patent of a "novel motor design" to power an "EasyJet-sized" electric airliner, says the airline, without providing detail of the architecture being proposed.

"[The] development suggests that the transition towards an all-electric commercial passenger jet capable of flying passengers across EasyJet's UK and European network is in sight," it adds.

The aircraft will be designed by Darold Cummings, an engineer and consultant who has previously worked for Boeing and the US Department of Defense.

Wright Electric is making preparations to perform a first flight of a nine-seat electric aircraft in 2019.

Previously, the Los Angeles-based start-up completed flight tests with a two-seat electric aircraft, built in co-operation with Spain's Axter Aerospace, a specialist in hybrid-powered light aircraft.

Noting that a range of 270nm is targeted for the electric airliner, EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren states that the airline's route between London and Amsterdam "could become the first electric flyway".

Lundgren believes "it is important to our customers that we operate sustainably", and that "technological advancements in electric flying are truly exciting, and it is moving fast".

He adds: "We can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel."

EasyJet became a partner with Wright Electric in 2017. The US company's chief executive Jeffrey Engler said during an EasyJet-hosted innovation event last year that the electric airliner would fly by 2027.

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