Air Canada and Saab (Sweden) will become minority shareholders in the startup Swedish electric aircraft manufacturer Heart Aerospace, with each contributing a USD5 million dollar investment. It came as Heart Aerospace revealed design updates, unveiled plans for the ES-30, and signed several new tentative purchase agreements.

The ES-30 is a lithium-ion battery-powered 30-passenger-capacity regional electric aircraft with a planned 2028 entry into service date. The ES-30 is an update to the 19-passenger ES-19.

On Thursday, September 15, Heart Aerospace said the ES-30 aircraft design would include a reserve-hybrid configuration, consisting of two turbo generators powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It gives the plane a fully electric range of 108 nautical miles (200 kilometers), an extended range of 216 nautical miles (400 kilometers) flying 30 passengers, and the ability to fly 432 nautical miles (800 kilometers) with 25 passengers - all while maintaining appropriate fuel reserves.

"We know that meeting our net-zero emissions goals will require new technology such as the ES-30," added Air Canada President and CEO Michael Rousseau. "We have every confidence that the team at Heart Aerospace has the expertise to deliver on the ES-30’s promise."

Rousseau backed the stock purchase with a purchase agreement for thirty ES-30s, saying the planes would sustainably serve regional and commuter routes. The ES-19 had already secured tentative orders for 200 planes from United Airlines to use on Mesa Airlines operated regional routes. Other airlines to sign ES-19 LOIs include Braathens Regional, Icelandair, and Sounds Air.

Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab, said his deal with Heart Aerospace deepens Saab's commitment to innovative technologies and sustainable aviation. "Heart is a pioneer within commercial electric aviation and we look forward to contributing to the future of aviation with our experience of developing solutions at the forefront of technology," he said.

Braathens, Sounds Air, and Icelandair have already updated their letters to include the ES-30s. On the same day that the ES-30 concept was revealed, Heart Aerospace said it has signed letters of intent (LOI) for 96 of the planes.

Adding to the news from the prospective electric plane builder, SAS Scandinavian Airlines signed what it termed a "letter of support" on September 15, giving the airline the option to acquire an unspecified number of ES-30 aircraft for their regional fleet.

"The electric aircraft will be a great complement to our existing fleet serving shorter and thinner routes in Denmark, Norway and Sweden," says a statement from the airline. SAS Scandinavian adds that they will also join Heart Aerospace’s new Industry Advisory Board.

Meanwhile, Swedish aircraft lessor Rockton Aviation has also signed an LOI to acquire up to forty ES-30s. The lessor noted the plane's expected entry into service date but beyond that failed to outline a specific delivery timeline.

Rockton's CEO Niklas Lund said the ES-30 is "what we have been looking for," and acknowledged its "meaningful range," economically viable payload capacities, and a not to distance delivery date.

"Rockton is convinced that the ES-30 will be in great demand among regional airlines that seek a path to meaningful emission reductions with competitive operating costs," he said.