JetSuite is the launch customer for the hybrid electric Zunum Aero


Charter operator JetSuite is set to be the first in its field to use the upcoming hybrid-electric Zunum Aero jet, having just placed an order for up to 100 aircraft.

The 12-seater Zunum Aero aircraft will start delivery in 2022 and will fly on JetSuite’s scheduled charter-flight platform JetSuite X.

JetSuiteX was launched last year and flies 30-seater Embraer 135s on short hops across the US West Coast.

Ashish Kumar, Zunum Aero’s CEO, said: “JetSuite, with its tradition of shifting paradigms in aviation, is an ideal partner for us in this launch collaboration. We have a shared vision for fundamentally transforming and improving the way that people live and travel.”

Zunum’s hybrid aircraft is aimed at providing a green alternative to short-range regional jets, boasting a maximum cruise speed of 340mph and a range of up to 1,000 miles. The aircraft has a take-off distance of 2,200 feet and a low expected operating cost of 8¢/seat mile. Zunum promises that its jet will offer 80% less noise and emissions than equivalent regional aircraft.

JetSuite will fly the aircraft to more than 5,000 ‘underutilized’ airports in the US and help reduce the door-to-door travel costs for its customers, the company said in a statement.

Alex Wilcox, founder and CEO of JetSuite and JetSuiteX, said: “At JetSuite and JetSuiteX, we appreciate the boldness required to change the status quo, and we see it in spades at Zunum. We share Zunum’s vision for hybrid to electric aviation. With this partnership, we expect to bring ever-more efficient and environmentally friendly aviation solutions to our private and semi-private jet customers.”

The Zunum Aero is on track to start flight testing in 2019. The company is funded by Boeing Horizon X, JetBlue Technology Ventures and the State of Washington Clean Energy Fund. Zunum secured investment from Boeing and JetBlue through a funding round launched in April last year, according to Crunchbase.