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Surf Air Mobility to supply electric powertrains to major Kenyan Cessna Caravan operators Safarilink and Yellow Wings

Download: Printable PDF Date: 05 Jan 2024 11:34 (UTC) categories:
Surf Air Mobility to supply electric powertrains to major Kenyan Cessna Caravan operators Safarilink and Yellow Wings - Airlines publisher
Dana Ermolenko
Aircraft: Airplanes

Surf Air Mobility entered into agreements with Safarilink, an airline connecting domestic scheduled flights to destinations within Kenya and Tanzania, and Yellow Wings Air Services, a Kenyan air operator that serves over 500 airfields throughout the East Africa region, to upgrade their Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft with Surf Air Mobility proprietary electrified powertrain technology once certified. This partnership marks another milestone as Surf Air Mobility seeks to expand its global footprint while leading the energy transition to electrified, green aviation. As the exclusive partner to Textron to electrify the Caravan, Surf Air Mobility is focused on building its business in regions around the world, such as Africa, that are already significant markets for that airframe and where transportation providers are quickly adopting innovative mobility solutions.

Surf Air is developing the Supplemental Type Certification for both hybrid and fully-electric variants of the Cessna Grand Caravan. With target reductions of up to 50% direct operating costs and 100% in carbon emissions for the fully-electric powertrain, Surf Air believes the impact it will have for other operators around the world can revolutionize the aviation landscape.

Stan Little, CEO of Surf Air Mobility, commented: “The Caravan is an amazing aircraft on which to develop our electrified powertrain, and we believe Safarilink and Yellow Wings’ operations are perfectly suited to demonstrate the benefits of our technology. We believe Africa is at the cutting edge of regional air mobility. Surf Air is excited to work with innovative, pioneering companies like Safarilink and Yellow Wings.”

Fred Reid, Global Head of Business Development for Surf Air Mobility, said: “Our goal is to deploy our proprietary electrification technology on a global scale, in addition to our own network. Upgrading Safarilink’s and Yellow Wings' Caravan fleet with our electrified powertrains unlocks new possibilities. As air travel economics change with electrification, we believe Safarilink and Yellow Wings can improve current services, launch new viable routes, and reduce environmental impact.”

This agreement helps to showcase Safarilink and Yellow Wings as pioneers in adopting the technologies necessary for a greener and quieter (crucial for Kenyan wildlife) future in transportation. It also aligns with the Kenyan government’s recent announcement to completely move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources by 2030. Both Safarilink and Yellow Wings are already focused on sustainability and wildlife conservation efforts, however the companies believe the move to electrified aircraft will drive sustainability even further while setting the stage for global transformation.

Alex Avedi, CEO of Safarilink, stated:“We at Safarilink are committed to doing everything possible to preserve the natural beauty of the countries we operate in. Implementing Surf Air Mobility’s electric powertrain technology will help us reduce the noise and minimize the climate impact of our flights as we help people from all over the world to experience our region’s incredible ecosystem.

Christian Strebel, CEO of Yellow Wings, said: “We strongly believe in alternative propulsion for air travel. We have always been the frontrunners in adopting new systems and innovations. Kenya, with 91% carbon free power generation is the ideal country to spearhead this movement.” 

The companies are excited about the potential to transform regional aviation within Kenya and East Africa by demonstrating the viability and impact that electrified Caravans will have on the industry.

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