The regional airliner space is well suited for early developments in non-fossil fuel or ultra-low emission aircraft. Flying shorter distances and with fewer passengers is an easier challenge to solve and so it should come as no surprise that there’s a multitude of players in this space. A mix of technologies can be found in this segment such as fully electric aircraft, hydrogen fuel cell systems, hybrid systems and hydrogen burning combustion engines. An aircraft is considered a regional airliner when it can seat at least eight passengers, can travel at least 100nm and is being positioned by the manufacturer as an aircraft to be used for commercial transport and not just personal transport.

Bye Aerospace eFlyer 800

Image credit: Bye Aerospace mediakit
Primary location: Englewood, Colorado

Out of the three aircraft being developed by Bye Aerospace, the eFlyer 800 is the largest. Seating 6 to 12 people depending on the operation plus one or two pilots, the eFlyer 800 can function as either a small regional airliner or a short-range business aircraft. Fully loaded, it can travel up to 500nm.

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Project Fresson BN-2 Islander

Image credit: Britten-Norman press release
Primary location: Cranfield, United Kingdom

In partnership with Britten-Norman, the manufacturer of the normally piston powered Islander, Cranfield Aerospace is developing a hydrogen fuel-cell conversion of the aircraft. The project is not just a technology demonstrator, it is intended to be used commercially on various shorter routes such as those operated between the Scottish isles. Cranfield believes passengers could be boarding as soon as 2025.

Desaer ATL-100H

Image credit: PR Newswire / MagniX press release
Primary location: São José dos Campos, Brazil

The ATL-100H is a hybrid version of Desaer’s ATL-100, which is currently under development and is expected to fly in 2023. Unlike most hybrids, the ATL-100H uses two magni350 electric motors from MagniX in combination with two turboprop engines. It seats 19 passengers or can be used to transport cargo.

Dufour Aerospace Aero3

Image credit: Dufour Aerospace press release
Primary location: Zürich, Switzerland

The Aero3 follows the same concept of its smaller UAV sibling, the Aero2. It can function as both a conventional aircraft when a good runway is available, or, it can tilt the entire wing and motors by 90 degrees to allow it to take-off and land vertically. Two additional propellors on the tail provide stability during this phase. It can take up to eight people around 551nm using a hybrid-electric powertrain. Utility versions for medical transport or light cargo transport are also considered.

Electra Aero eSTOL

Image credit: PR Newswire / Electra Aero press release
Primary location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

Electra Aero hasn’t yet provided a name for their aircraft, but they like using the phrase eSTOL (electric Short Take Off and Landing) so maybe that’s a good name for now. With a total of eight electric motors blowing air against very high angle flaps, the aircraft will require only minimal distance for take-off and landing. It uses a hybrid-electric design to deliver a range of up to about 435 miles. It can carry up to nine passengers and one pilot.

Electric Aviation Group H2ERA

Image credit: / Electric Avation Group press release
Primary location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Electric Aviation Group, which includes some subsidiaries developing specific parts of the technology, aims to have the H2ERA flying by 2026 and entered into service by 2030. EAG has partnered with Spirit AeroSystems for production of structural components. H2ERA combines two different types of powerplants, two hydrogen combustion engines combined with two hydrogen fuel cell powered electric motors. Seating 70 passengers it is expected to offer a range of around 1.200nm.

Elfly Noemi

Image credit: Elfly promotional video
Primary location: Bergen, Norway

Newcomer Elfly from Norway is a dealer for Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer aircraft but is also working to develop their own all-electric seaplane. Aiming to take advantage of Norway’s unique landscape with its many fjords, the Elfly Noemi (“No Emissions”) is a 9 to 13-passenger (depending on configuration) electric seaplane, with a look that reminds of the Grumman seaplanes of yesteryear. Range is quite limited however with an estimate around 90 nautical miles, but this may be sufficient for short hops around a fjord.

Eviation Alice

Image credit: Eviation media kit
Primary location: Arlington, Washington, United States

Eviation has managed to attract serious attention with their first aircraft named Alice. Serving either as a regional passenger aircraft that seats up to nine people or a small cargo plane and with a range of up to 250nm, it has attracted the interest of operators like Cape Air and DHL. The engines are manufactured by MagniX located nearby in Everett, which is owned by the same parent company as Eviation, Clermont Holdings.

Faradair BEHA

Image credit: Faradair promotional video
Primary location: Duxford, United Kingdom

The Faradair BEHA is a hybrid-electric regional airliner or cargo aircraft. It seats either up to 18 passengers or three LD3 cargo containers of up to five tons total. The aircraft will offer STOL capabilities and be powered by a MagniX electric motor. The system doesn’t rely entirely on batteries but instead will leverage a turbine from Honeywell running on biofuel to offer more range than batteries alone could deliver. Range is said to be around a 1000nm. Remarkable too is the use of solar panels on the top of the plane which will serve to deliver ground power.

Fokker Next Gen

Image credit: Fokker Next Gen promotional image
Primary location: Hoofddorp, the Netherlands

Ever since its bankruptcy in 1996, plans have been made to bring Fokker back to life under various names, which usually focused on producing a modernized version of the Fokker 70 / 100 aircraft. None of these efforts ever succeeded, however, the Fokker Next Gen effort is taking a different approach by starting fresh and build a regional jet using hydrogen as fuel. While the plan is to use a Fokker 100 as an initial test bed, the eventual design is clean slate. Notable in the design are the wide fuselage with no windows, with the passenger view being presented via screens instead.

Heart Aerospace ES-30

Image credit: Heart Aerospace media kit
Primary location: Göteborg, Sweden

Heart Aerospace’s managed to impress even in its early stages of development, securing over 200 orders for the aircraft from Finnair, United Airlines and Mesa Airlines. The initial design, called the ES-19, considered 19 passengers, but as the name suggests that number has been increased to 30 with the ES-30 design. It is a hybrid-electric design, with the expectation being that initially it will be able to fly about 108nm on batteries alone, and about double that in hybrid mode, with the hope that range will increase as battery technology improves.

Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10

Image credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles Media Library
Primary location: Bedford, United Kingdom

With an order from Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum for 10 aircraft, the Airlander 10 becoming an airship you might one day be able to fly suddenly became a lot more realistic. Fitted with a much bigger cabin than the one pictured here during the airship’s first flight, the Airlander 10 will be able to carry 100 people. While currently powered by diesel engines, electric propulsion is envisioned for the airship. Though lighter-than-air, the shape of the airship helps produce additional lift. It’s likely to have considerable range even with electric engines, but in practice it seems likely that it will only make relatively short trips since it will not be nearly as fast as conventional aircraft.

Jekta PHA-ZE 100

Image credit: Jekta promotional material
Primary location: Payerne, Switzerland

The Jekta PHA-ZE is a regional all-electric amphibious aircraft which is to be either battery or hydrogen fuel cell powered. The vision is boosted by an initial Letter-of-Intent for 10 aircraft from Gayo Aviation. The PHA-ZE is to carry up to 19 passengers and 3 crew in an all-economy configuration and offer about 2 hours of flying time.

Maeve Aerospace 01

Image credit: Maeve Aerospace promotional video
Primary location: Delft, the Netherlands

Start-up Maeve Aerospace (formerly Venturi Aviation) has bold targets for their all-electric Maeve 01, aiming for certification by 2029. With an estimated range of 250nm and seating 44 the 01 it could fly many popular European regional routes like Amsterdam to London. To develop the structures, Maeve has partnered with Airborne Composites.

Odys Aviation

Image credit: Odys Aviation promotional video
Primary location: Long Beach, California, United States

Odys Aviation doesn’t entirely do away with fossil fuels. For shorter ranges, it can operate as a fully electric aircraft, only needing a gas turbine generator for longer distances. In a February 2022 interview it was stated that it will be able to fly up to about 174nm on electrical power alone. After that, additional power from the generator is required which should extend the range to 869nm. It can be flown by one or two pilots and seat up to nine passengers. The aircraft as of yet lacks a name. Very high angle flaps sending the airflow from the propellors down allow for a near Vertical Take-Off and Landing.

REGENT Viceroy

Image credit: REGENT media kit
Primary location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

The REGENT Viceroy is the smaller of two planned electric ground effect aircraft by REGENT, and the first of the two to be developed. It is designed to operate as a hydrofoil at speeds below 40 knots transitions to flying in ground effect above that speed. This does limit the aircraft to flights over water. However, it also means it can use existing dock infrastructure instead of needing an airport, and early customers include various ferry services. Lockheed Martin has also invested in REGENT for defense applications. It is expected to carry 12 people up to 160nm, though REGENT believes that could increase to as much as 430nm by 2027 as technology improves. Less is known about the proposed larger model, the Monarch, and an entry for that model may follow at a later date.

Stralis Aircraft B1900D-HE

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Primary location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Stralis Aircraft intends to eventually produce their own clean slate designs, however, to start out their focus is on converting existing Beech B1900D aircraft to use a hydrogen powertrain. Dubbed the B1900D-HE, this regional airliner is expected to take 15 people up to 432nm. Australian regional airline Skytrans is the launch customer for this modified aircraft. Pictured here is a conventional B1900D.

The AirCraft Company SY30J Pangea

Image credit: The AirCraft company website
Primary location: Witchita, Kansas, United States

It’s a bold move to simply call yourself “The AirCraft Company”, and their first product is certainly a bold one as well. The SY30J Pangea is proposed hybrid-electric aircraft that can carry 30 passengers up to 216nm, or over double that operating as a hybrid. Interesting is that they propose that as a hybrid, not only will it support the use of SAF but also Hydrogen. The company also places emphasis on ensuring accessibility of their aircraft for people with reduced mobility.

VÆRIDION Microliner

Image credit: VÆRIDION press release
Primary location: Munich, Germany

German newcomer VÆRIDION is targeting the small regional aviation space with their first aircraft, the Microliner. The Microliner is planned to have a range of up to 270nm with nine passengers and a pilot. Notable is the wide wingspan which gives the Microliner a glider-like impression.