Eviation Aircraft announced that Miami-based lessor Aerolease has signed an LOI for up to fifty commuter Alice aircraft. Aerolease is focused on sustainable aviation and will provide financing and leasing solutions for Alice to a global customer base of operators.
“In the four years since the last edition of the Paris Air Show, Eviation has achieved the world-first test flight of the Alice and secured over $ 4 billion in orders,” said Gregory Davis, CEO of Eviation. This should equal orders for around 350 aircraft, although Eviation doesn’t specify that in its press release.
“Our aircraft has captured the hearts and minds of the marketplace with its beautiful design, low cost of operation, and environmental credentials. The leasing community has an important part to play in creating a long-lasting future for our industry, and we are delighted to work with Aerolease, our latest leasing customer.”
Aerolease has a history of owning Douglas DC-8s, Airbus A300B4s, and Boeing 737s, but claims to be the market leader with the Boeing 757 since 2005, including sales, leases, and conversions. At the 2016 Singapore Airshow, the company signed an MoU with Mitsubishi for ten MRJ90 regional jets and confirmed this later that same year. As the US scope clause for regional aircraft blocked the Japanese program from reaching certification, Aerolease saw no other option than to cancel the order in January 2021.
Tecnam withdrawal helpt Eviation
Eviation’s news comes as Italian OEM Tecnam announced last week that it has postponed the development of its electric P-Volt. The P-Volt is also a nine-seater. Tecnam has its aircraft flying for Cape Air. This airline is also one of the first customers of Eviation’s Alice. Tecnam cites current battery technology as a restriction to the operational capabilities of the P-Volt.
While the news is great for Eviation, one must consider a nine-seater’s market size. Seeing Tecnam withdraw helps Eviation. But the market remains, in our view, small. We want to hear about Eviation’s next iteration of Alice – perhaps to 19 seats? The other electric 19-seater was from Heart Aerospace. And that has now moved to 30 seats.
Looking forward, battery-powered aircraft face a hurdle. The aircraft carries a payload penalty because batteries do not lose weight during flight as fuel tanks do. The sweet spot for commercial, regional aircraft is 50 seats. Embraer has backed off its program because of engines. As Eviation basks in another order, the path to 50 seats will be tough. That’s where the pot of gold is.
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.