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Why two aircraft rental companies did not jump into the craze for electric planes | New

Some major aircraft rental companies are still not convinced of the viability of electric passenger aircraft and whether the developing air taxis and other first-generation electric types even fit into their rental business models.

Those companies are Air Lease and AerCap, whose executives recently expressed reluctance to enter the electric aircraft segment, which has recently attracted massive investment amid promises of transforming urban and regional travel.

At least one aircraft rental company – Avolon – recently entered the electric aircraft ring by committing to purchase an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developed by British company Vertical Aerospace.

“We just don’t see the business case yet. We don’t have enough information to really make a meaningful decision, ”Air Lease chief executive John Plueger said of electric planes during the company’s second quarter earnings call on the 5th. August.

Still, he says Los Angeles-based Air Lease continues to “take a serious look” at the segment.

Air Lease Executive Chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy notes that developing electric planes lie outside Air Lease’s core market – the rental of jets with more than 150 seats.

“We just don’t see a current [electric aircraft] technology that can solve this problem, ”adds Udvar-Hazy. “It is in the very early embryonic stages and only addresses very short-haul opportunities. “

On July 29, Aengus Kelly, managing director of Irish lessor AerCap, said lessors need planes that they can transfer economically between airline customers, including those in different parts of the world.

It is not clear that eVTOL fits into this model.

“A lessor wants an asset that can be transferred among clients around the world… maybe from Canada to Jakarta,” says Kelly. “This is what you have to be able to do for the lessor product to work.”

He thinks “electric vehicles are coming”. But when and what missions they’ll ultimately accomplish is still unclear, he says.

“The timing, what the missions will be and whether or not these are commercial-size planes that can carry humans – that’s a whole other question,” says Kelly.

Their comments come as countless start-ups seek certification for electric aircraft. These companies include eVTOL manufacturers like Joby Aviation, Wisk Aero, Archer Aviation, Vertical Aerospace and Volocopter. Other companies such as Eviation and Heart Aerospace are working on the development of electric or hybrid electric fixed-wing aircraft. In Canada, commuter carrier Harbor Air is working to certify a De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver modified to have an electric motor.

Many start-ups have in recent years attracted significant investment and unveiled plans to become publicly traded companies.

In June, Dublin-based aircraft rental company Avolon took a step forward by ordering up to 500 VA-X4s from Vertical, a winged eVTOL for five people.

Avolon, who pegged the potential value of the deal at $ 1.25 billion, also said it would become an equity investor in Vertical, but did not disclose the amount of the investment.

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