MagniX’s Plans To Revamp Airline Networks With Electric Aircraft

Electric aircraft technology is rapidly progressing across the industry, with several successful engine tests already completed. Airlines and…

MagniX’s Plans To Revamp Airline Networks With Electric Aircraft

Electric aircraft technology is rapidly progressing across the industry, with several successful engine tests already completed. Airlines and authorities are keen to cut down emissions and increase efficiency on their operations, and electric planes are a key way to reach these targets.

A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan fitted with a magniX Magni500 electric propulsion system completed its first flight a year ago. Photo: magniX

Amid these future transformations, electric propulsion system manufacturer magniX feels that the aviation industry needs to overhaul its way of thinking when it comes to routes. Simple Flying spoke with the company’s CEO, Roei Ganzarski, to learn more about the prospects.

Walking before running

magniX is working on aircraft that range from six to 40 passengers, all with a range of between 100 to 500 miles. So the sort of routes that can be expected to be operated with these planes wouldn’t be the likes of London to New York or LA to New York. They would be deployed on much shorter services.

The business is keen on firstly addressing small, regional services, which it shares represent approximately 50% of all global flights. After the network is in place, and battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced, then the electric scene will level up to bigger planes.

“It’s like saying when Tesla started, “oh why would you do an electric car, there’s no way you can do a semi-trailer that can cross the country.” I’m not trying to do a semi-trailer that can cross the country. I’m trying to do a small electric car, then we’ll grow into it. Lo and behold, today, 10 years after introducing Tesla, they’re talking about semi-trailers,” Ganzarski expresses.

“So, for some reason in aviation everyone’s jumping, “oh, electric isn’t good because you can’t do a 737, or an A330-size aircraft across the Atlantic.” Yeah, no one’s trying to do that. That’s not possible in the next 30 to 50 years, so why are we even talking about it? Let’s focus on what we are talking about, which are smaller planes.”

magni500
The magni500 can give a base speed of 1900 RPM and a maximum Speed of 2600 RPM. Photo: magniX

Rethinking the approach

A notable challenge for electric aircraft firms is that everyone is thinking about aviation from the lens of a narrowbody, which is what would take someone on a route such as from London to Paris, because of what the airlines and the OEMs have trained the industry to get used to.

However, to fly between major airports, passengers may have to stand in line for an hour ahead of time due to security checks to get on a 45-minute flight to another airport that may be 45 minutes away from the actual city. This is a process that the industry has become accustomed to.

Therefore, when there are prospects of new propulsion, speculators generally compare the future to today’s market, which Ganzarski believes is the wrong thing to do. Overall, the new technology is going to open up new opportunities to change the way airlines operate today, so the concerns become less significant.

MagniX eCaravan Plane
magniX was founded in Queensland, Australia in 2009, but it’s headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Photo: magniX

Changing the game

Notably, according to Ganzarski, only 1.6% of trips less than 500 miles are conducted by air. magniX strives to increase this figure, as many passengers are driving for hours between their home and their nearest suitable airport when traveling. This process is not only inefficient for fliers, but with the numbers adding up, this factor contributes to emissions.

“Let’s take a London City to Manchester flight. If it’s a 100-seater plane, is it fulll? Usually it’s 70-80% if it’s really good. A lot of times it’s less than that, but let’s say 75% just for average. How many of those 75 people on the flight actually live in and around London city versus those who drove up to an hour to get to London City? And then, how many people are actually living around Manchester Airport versus those who will drive now up to an hour or more to their destination? And are there closer airports on both those ends?” Ganzarski shares.

“So imagine now, an airline, it doesn’t have to be an existing one, it could be a new operator, says wait a minute, if instead of having to fill 75 seats on a plane, I only had to fill seven out of nine or 12 out of 16, or 30 out of 40, maybe I could change the way I think and not fly from London City to Manchester.

“Maybe I could fly from Blackbushe to Cardiff, or another airport, that’s much smaller anywhere in between. Because it’s a much smaller plane, it will cost me 40 to 80% less per flight hour to operate. Then, I can start doing these small routes, and be even more profitable than the ones striking up the big routes.”

Additional benefits

Ganzarski adds that since airlines would be deploying smaller aircraft on numerous smaller routes, they can then use 50-seater aircraft on city-to-city short and medium-haul routes rather than 100-seaters, which will help to cut costs further. Therefore, they can deploy their 100-seaters more effectively on the hub-to-hub long-haul journeys due to their high ranges. The executive summarizes that it’s all about introducing the right equipment for the right mission.

MagniX eCaravan
The provisions of the different builds are incomparable. Photo: magniX

Opening up air travel

Altogether, magniX strives to make flying even more accessible with its innovations. The company highlights that due to the smaller sizes, these planes don’t need big gates and the passengers would naturally be traveling lightly so they can avoid baggage reclaims.

Moreover, in several regions, the aircraft don’t require the exact same security checks with hand luggage as commercial jet services, speeding up boarding processes. So, the firm envisions that flying will be more casual than it is now and be an everyday experience for those traveling from town to town.

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In the not-so-distant future, the aviation industry could look a whole lot different, especially as airlines replan their strategies following the pandemic. magniX’s leadership believes that batteries will eventually be used for smaller planes on short distances and hydrogen fuel cells will be fitted on midsize aircraft on medium distances.

For now, the larger planes on long-haul routes will continue to use traditional jet engines while airlines turn to sustainable fuels. However, as electric aircraft technology evolves, it won’t be a surprise to see a breakthrough in this field sooner than later.

After all, we can look back at how quickly aircraft tech evolved at the turn of the 1900s. We went from the Wright Flyer, which covered less than 1,000 feet, to a de Havilland Comet, which covered 1,300 nautical miles, in less than half a century. Similarly, electric aircraft industry is still in its infancy, so it will go through several developments over the next few decades.

What are your thoughts about magnix’s plans with its electric aircraft? Do you see a shift in network patterns in the future? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Police Find Drugs Onboard TAP Airbus A330neo In Venezuela

Venezuelan sniffer dogs foiled a drug run out of Simón Bolívar International Airport in Venezuela this week. The…

Police Find Drugs Onboard TAP Airbus A330neo In Venezuela

Venezuelan sniffer dogs foiled a drug run out of Simón Bolívar International Airport in Venezuela this week. The dogs, along with their handlers from Venezuela’s  Regional Anti-Drug Intelligence Unit, found the haul when inspecting a TAP Air Portugal cargo flight on Wednesday.

Venezuelan authorities grounded a TAP Air Portugal A330 after a drug seizure this week. Photo: Airbus

“Venezuelan police on Wednesday prevented the take-off of a TAP cargo plane, which was supposed to fly between Maiquetía (northern Caracas) and Lisbon, after detecting an undetermined amount of narcotic substances in the aircraft’s fuselage,” says a statement from Safe Communities Portugal, a non-profit crime prevention group. Simple Flying has established the haul was 124 bars of cocaine. The cocaine was found in the crew area of the Airbus.

TAP Air Portugal running regular cargo services to Venezuela

TAP Air Portugal currently operates regular freighter services between Simón Bolívar Airport (Maiquetia) outside Caracas to Lisbon.  Safe Communities Portugal flagged the aircraft as an Airbus A330. TAP Air Portugal has 24 of these planes, 18 of which are currently in service.

Flight tracking website RadarBox.com shows CF-TUF, a TAP Air Portugal A330-900, departed Lisbon for Caracas on Tuesday, May 4, operating as TP9533. The flight landed later that day and was slated to depart on Wednesday. However, following the bust, that flight was cancelled. The Safe Communities Portugal statement says:

“The local authorities are conducting investigations concerning products of a possible narcotic nature, which will have been found, in the cargo hold, during a mandatory civil aviation security control action under the responsibility of the Bolivarian National Guard.”

TAP-Airbus-A330neo-Drugs-Venezuela-getty
Simón Bolívar Airport is a long-established hotspot for illicit drug movements. Photo: Getty Images

Aircraft released after suggestion of seizure

The temporary grounding led to some speculation online Venezuelan authorities would confiscate the TAP Airbus. The Venezuelan Government has previously held onto smaller Portuguese planes seized in other drug busts. But holding onto a commercial Airbus A330 may have proved a little ambitious. RadarBox.com shows CF-TUF was back in the air on Thursday.

There was no suggestion TAP Air Portugal’s crew were involved. Instead, the investigators focused on a sergeant of the Bolivarian National Guard. The unnamed sergeant “fled when the Venezuelan authorities decided to inspect the aircraft.” The inspection was part of a compulsory civil aviation security check. Reports indicate the crew and TAP Air Portugal were cooperating fully with the investigation.

TAP-Airbus-A330neo-Drugs-Venezuela
There was a big drug bust in 2013 involving an Air France flight from Venezuela. Photo: Air France

Cocaine bust continues a long tradition at Simón Bolívar International Airport

Wednesday’s cocaine seizure puts the spotlight back on Venezuela’s biggest international airport. Simón Bolívar International Airport has an established track record as a cocaine export hub. Corruption and a need for hard currencies are key enablers of the trade.

But as this week’s bust indicates, efforts are made to stamp out the illicit trade. However, corrupt elements hinder those efforts. Most spectacularly, French authorities halted a massive 1.3-tonne cocaine importation on an Air France flight in 2013 tied to the Venezuelan military.

“Anyone who has witnessed the elaborate controls the National Guard keeps over every aspect of passenger and bag movements at Simón Bolívar, where woe be onto you if you try to leave the country with two packs of coffee in your bag as souvenirs, knows perfectly well you can’t get ghost bags onto a plane without them knowing about it,” one Venezuelan commentator said online at the time.

A former airline pilot noted that it was relatively unusual for crew areas to be inspected on flights like the TAP Air Portugal cargo service. There is also a suggestion the inspection was the result of information coming from international law enforcement agencies.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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