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SAS Opens Bookings for Electric Flights from 2028

Although passengers can book tickets with Scandinavian Airlines, it won't be operating electric flights until 2028 at least

by Lauren Smith

June 6, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of SAS

This month, you can nab a ticket using electric aircraft on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) first-ever commercial flight. The fine print: the destination has yet to be revealed, the aircraft hasn’t been manufactured, and the departure date has yet to be confirmed, although it will likely be in 2028. Probably.

SAS started taking bookings for its inaugural electric flights on Friday, June 2. Thirty seats are available on each of the three flights. Each person can reserve a maximum of two seats, so you’ll get to bring a companion.

The three flights will be domestic routes within Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, but SAS says the distance and duration are to be determined and will depend on how far electric aviation has developed by 2028. “We will plan the journey according to the possibilities presented to us,” the carrier said.

However, don’t expect long flights: the battery-powered 30-seat Heart¬†Aerospace ES-30 that will operate these flights has a projected range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) when flying fully electric or 398 km (247 mi) when running as a hybrid, with generators powered by aviation biofuel. It’s intended for regional flights.

Tickets are priced at 1946 SEK/NOK/DKK ($187), including taxes and fees – a symbolic sum referencing SAS’s year of founding. However, you won’t have to produce the money now or even pay a deposit to hold your seat. SAS will come knocking for the ticket price 30 days before departure when, presumably, you’ll know more about where this flight is headed.

Another caveat: the ES-30 still needs to be certified to fly anywhere worldwide. However, the Swedish startup behind it expects the plane to enter service by 2028. However, that timeline, and the dates on your SAS tickets, could change.

Despite the uncertainty, airlines and leasing companies are already queuing up to operate the low-carbon jet. Heart reports 250 firm orders for the 30-seat ES-30.

SAS has placed orders for an unknown number of jets with Heart and is introducing the aircraft as part of its commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The Stockholm-based carrier says introducing commercial electric flights is part of its pioneering history.

“Since its inception in 1946, SAS has been one of the pioneers in the airline industry, being for instance, the first commercial airline operator to fly over the North Pole to significantly shorten flight time between continents,” CEO Anko van der Werff said.

“The fact that we can now invite our passengers to the next major milestone in the future of aviation is a natural continuation of that pioneering spirit and a significant step on our journey towards more sustainable aviation.”

SAS’s sale of tickets for a hypothetical electric flight sometime in the late 2020s may be a publicity stunt, but electric aviation is already barreling down the runway. United Airlines hopes to operate electric planes – from Heart Aerospace – on regional routes as early as 2026. EasyJet has partnered with U.S. startup Wright Electric to develop a 186-seat electric aircraft it hopes to operate on short-haul flights, with test flights initially scheduled for this year.