Travelling by air was once only for the elite but then through science and engineering, there’s now a way to make airfares cheaper thus making flying affordable to regular people. Now, we hear things like “budget-airlines” and even “promo-fares”. With the current prices of airfare today, things are about to get crazy. A company called Zunum Aero shocked the world when they came out with this. How does 40% cheaper of air travel than the usual sound to you? If that didn’t excite you; what about 80 % cheaper than the normal flight rates? On top of that, you travel with comfort and without harming the environment since Zunum offers 80% lower emissions. This is the promise of Zunum Aero: economy, efficiency and environmental responsibility. These are the three pillars of this startup company.
Based in Kirkland, Washington, Zunum Aero plans to fly in and out of mostly unused airports in the United States. Targeting to use the 97% of the 13,500 airports in the United States would mean lesser waiting time for passengers and lesser operating cost for the Zunum Aero compared to larger air crafts at busier airports. The company plans to use 10-50 seater air crafts for regional flights that can go as high as 700 miles. Imagine boarding an aircraft as fast as boarding a bus, imagine your last regional flight, take away 80% of it and put it back into your purse. These two things alone can prove that the company stands out from the others.
The cool part about this is the aircraft itself. The company’s main stars are its hybrid electric planes. Since 2014, Zunum Aero has been helping Federal Aviation establish electric aircraft standards. Not to mention, publicly listed, multinational company BOEING is one of ZunumAero’s investors along with JetBlue Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of JetBlue Airways. “Boeing is investing in Zuni because we feel its technology development is leading this emerging and exciting hybrid-electric market space. This technology and customer approach has the potential to transform the market for small, short-haul aircraft that can use smaller regional airports”, said Steve Nordlund who is the Vice President of Strategy.
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In a company statement, Asish Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Zunum Aero explained that larger air crafts used by major airlines opened the market service opportunity that Zunum Aero intended to fill. He added, “The shift of the industry to large aircraft and long ranges driven by gas turbines has concentrated almost all air traffic to just two percent of our airports, creating a massive transport gap over regional distances where there is no high-speed alternative,” Kumar said. “As a result, door-to-door times for most journeys are no better than they were 50 years ago. Hybrid propulsion is an industry-changing solution, enabling mid-sized aircraft on regional routes to have better cost efficiencies than airliners.”
Lesser emissions mean a better environment and cleaner air. Being electric, this also means lesser noise during takeoffs and landings and even in mid-air too. Lesser waiting time can be expected for turnaround air crafts since these air crafts won’t have to wait for fuel tracks to scramble and pump thousands of gallons of A-1 jet fuel. A quick charge or a battery swap and you’re ready to go. Zunum Aero says that its’ hybrid air crafts will only use fuel if they have to. With bigger companies working on improving battery cells, the company believes that a day will come when battery power alone will be sufficient in powering an entire aircraft.