Ravn Alaska (7H, Anchorage Ted Stevens) has signed a letter of intent to purchase 50 electric-powered short take-off and landing (eSTOL) aircraft being developed by San Francisco-based aerospace start-up Airflow, the companies announced.

Ravn will benefit from the new capabilities the new electric propulsion technology offers, including lower operating costs, noise reduction, increased route options, and customer demand for more environmentally-friendly ways of air transport.

“As a regional operator, we are committed to serving the many large and small communities of Alaska. That means we are constantly seeking out new ways to deliver the best value and experience for Alaskans,” said Ravn Alaska Chief Executive Officer Rob McKinney. “With Airflow, we benefit from the new capabilities the aircraft offers that open up new and different destinations, the constantly improving efficiencies of electrification, and alignment between our fleet and the rising demands of our customers to travel with the smallest carbon footprint possible,” he said in a statement.

The timeline of the 50 eSTOL aircraft deliveries was not disclosed, but the Airflow aircraft is expected to enter service from 2025. Ravn Airlines currently operates a fleet of ten DHC-8-100s, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.

Airflow said the agreement brought its total order book, including other customers, to more than USD200 million for its hybrid-electric aircraft.

“From logistics carriers to passenger airlines, we hear loud and clear that demand is on the rise. We’re partnering with companies that seek to add new aircraft with new capabilities to their fleets that are flexible, cost-effective, and carbon-neutral,” said Airflow co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Marc Ausman. “The Airflow team has designed, built, and flown new aircraft on rapid timescales together before, and now we’re applying those learnings to an aircraft that will improve operating economics for airlines and contribute positively to reducing aviation’s carbon impact.”

He said the new eSTOL aircraft would be able to enter service with no new infrastructure requirements and limited certification hurdles compared to other electric aviation market entrants. Future aircraft models from Airflow will feature autonomous systems to improve cost efficiency and safety further.

Airflow was founded in 2019 by five former Airbus Vahana team members to bring eSTOL capabilities to the passenger and middle-mile logistics market. The founding team's background includes companies like Airbus, Eclipse Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Uber Elevate, Airware, and Scaled Composites.

Ravn Alaska restarted scheduled services in November last year, following the April 2020 grounding and subsequent bankruptcy of its predecessor RavnAir Group. Now owned by FLOAT Shuttle (Burbank), the airline has been rebranded from Corvus Airlines (Anchorage Ted Stevens) but continues to operate on its old Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). Seven of its Dash 8s were acquired by FLOAT from RavnAir Group, while three are leased from Avmax Aircraft Leasing.

Scheduled services from Anchorage Ted Stevens include Kenai, Homer, Valdez, Fairbanks International, Saint Paul Island, Dutch Harbor, Sand Point, Unalakleet, Kodiak, Cold Bay, and Aniak.