Helijet International, a Vancouver-based helicopter airline and charter service, has placed what it says is Canada’s first order for an electric, vertical-takeoff aircraft to add to its fleet of passenger and cargo helicopters.
On Tuesday, Helijet president Danny Sitnam mentioned that the ALIA aircraft, produced by BETA Technologies, an aerospace manufacturer located in Vermont, will offer rapid, noiseless, and improved landings and takeoffs specifically for hospitals and other emergency areas.
Sitnam mentioned that the ALIA, an electric aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), presents advantages for emergency response, air ambulance, and organ transfer services in British Columbia.
He mentioned that the aircraft, which emits no pollution and is currently undergoing tests to meet regulatory requirements, has the capacity to transport a pilot and five passengers.
Skye Carapetyan, BETA’s sales director, said the ALIA has wings, four drone-like horizontal rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter, and a propeller at the back for thrust.
“He stated that ALIA is intended to be a dependable, effective, and environmentally friendly aircraft choice capable of performing various tasks in any geographical area. We are excited to introduce this advanced, carbon-neutral technology to Canadian commuters and travelers,” he expressed.
Premier David Eby of British Columbia, who was present at the announcement in Victoria, described it as a creative solution to tackle the difficulties posed by climate change.
“He mentioned that we are a leading force in the aerospace sector, prioritizing innovation, pollution reduction, and cost-effectiveness, while also providing guidance for the future.”
In a statement, Helijet announced that the ALIA will be accessible for both private and commercial flights by 2026.
BETA Technologies disclosed that they have also received orders from UPS and Air New Zealand, along with contracts with the U.S. military.
It has a research and development facility at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.