Finnair has signalled its intention to add electric aircraft to its fleet, by signing a Letter of Interest with Heart Aerospace for its ES-19 aircraft.

The 19-seater aircraft is currently under development, and is expected to be available for commercial flights from 2026.

Finnair said that it “acquire up to 20 of the new 19-seater Heart Aerospace ES-19 electric aircraft, for use on the airline’s short routes”.

The ES-19 is being designed by Swedish start-up Heart Aerospace, and has a range of 400km.

The race to put electric aircraft into commercial operation is steadily hotting up, with Rolls-Royce recently partnering with Scandinavian carrier Wideroe to develop an all-electric passenger aircraft.

Rolls-Royce partners with Wideroe to develop all-electric aircraft for service in 2026

United Airlines has also signed an agreement with Archer Aviation to accelerate the production of short-haul electric aircraft, and last year Electric Aviation Group unveiled its design for a new hybrid aircraft which it hopes to be in service by 2028.

Meanwhile Easyjet has partnered with US-based start-up Wright Electric to develop a 186-seat electric aircraft, with planned flight tests in 2023.

Easyjet partner plans to test electric aircraft in 2023

Commenting on the news Anne Larilahti, Finnair vice president of sustainability, said:

“Finnair believes electric aviation will be one of the tools for the future of flying. It will help to promote responsible and sustainable aviation especially on short routes, in an era where climate change will increasingly dominate the agenda.

“We want to be actively involved in developing and implementing new technologies which enable carbon-neutral flying.

“Solving the climate challenge of flying is essential so that the social and economic benefits of aviation can continue. Many of the measures require collaboration across industries in tandem with partners playing a key role in our ongoing sustainability work.”,