Private jet charter company JetSuite is interested in up to 100 of Kirkland startup Zunum’s aircraft, slated to begin delivery in 2022.
Kirkland-based Zunum Aero announced Monday that private-jet-charter provider JetSuite will be the launch customer for its small hybrid-electric aircraft slated for delivery in 2022.
Zunum, a startup that’s won funding from both Boeing and the state of Washington, is developing a plane, mostly built of composites, with Tesla-style battery packs in the wings.
As a hybrid, it will also carry a relatively small amount of fuel.
JetSuite will take up to 100 of Zunum’s aircraft, according to the announcement, though no financial commitment is mentioned.
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Zunum’s initial airplane design would theoretically seat up to a dozen people, but since Federal Aviation Administration rules require two pilots for 10 or more passengers, in practice, it’ll be a nine-seater in the U.S.
Aircraft of this size typically are used as air taxis or as commuter planes for business people on high-traffic, short-hop routes such as Silicon Valley to Los Angeles.
In April 2017, Boeing’s venture-capital unit Horizon along with New York City-based airline JetBlue Airways gave Zunum an undisclosed amount of startup funding. The state of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund later kicked in an $800,000 research-and-development grant.
Irvine, California-based JetSuite offers private-charter flights. Founder and CEO Alex Wilcox was earlier a founding executive of JetBlue, which partners with JetSuite.
In a statement, Wilcox said the agreement with Zunum will bring “more efficient and environmentally friendly aviation solutions to our private- and semi-private-jet customers.”