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.
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: Newswire.ca / 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 Byfly X10
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 Byfly X10 is a small all-electric seaplane seating one or two pilots and up to nine passengers or cargo. Elfly expects it to have a range of approximately 135nm. Pictured here is a 1/5th scale model developed for testing.
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 440nm, it has attracted the interest of operators like Cape Air and DHL. The engines are manufactured by MagniX located nearby in Everett.
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.
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.
Maeve Aerospace 01
Image credit: Maeve Aerospace
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 just under 300nm 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.
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.
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. 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.
Image credit: Tecnam press release
Primary location: Naples, Italy
Tecnam is a well-respected name in aviation and the P-Volt is Tecnam’s first all-electric aircraft. The P-Volt is initially built for launch customer Widerøe in partnership with Rolls-Royce. Range and other specification haven’t yet been announced, but the aircraft should seat nine people. Built upon the P2012 Traveller, Tecnam is also offering owners of existing P2012 Traveller aircraft to modify their aircraft to use the new electric powertrain.
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.