We are hearing more and more about how air travel is a major source of pollution in the northern hemisphere and nobody seems to be doing much about it!
Oh, we're working on cars and other stuff to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, but imagine taking your next trip of a couple hundred miles, (Toronto to Montreal, for example, or Houston to Dallas, Tampa to Miami) in a more environmentally friendly way ......, way up there in the clouds!
The obvious choice now might be to drive. But what if you could show up at an airport at one of those cities, bypass security checkpoints, board a small hybrid-electric plane with luggage in hand, and be on the ground at your destination in about an hour — all for $25 each way?
A company called Zunum Aero hopes to make that a reality, so that future travelers who normally take a car, bus or train for regional trips won’t think twice about flying. The Washington state-based start-up says that since 2013, it has been developing a fleet of hybrid-electric planes that would make those kinds of inexpensive, short-haul flights possible.
“Think of it as Tesla of the air,” said Bonny Simi, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures. “[Or] think of it as an electric bus in the air.”
Zunum Aero emerged from “stealth mode” on Wednesday to announce its ambitious goals: to be flying routes of up to 700 miles (think Atlanta to Washington, D.C.) by the mid-2020s and then routes of up to 1,000 miles (think Los Angeles to Seattle) by 2030.
The start-up also laid out an array of promises: Door-to-door travel times cut in half. Lower operating costs. Airfares that would be 40 to 80 percent lower. All on quiet hybrid aircraft that would produce 80 percent less emissions. Indeed, part of the company name was inspired by “tzunuum,” the Mayan word for the hummingbird, for the bird’s speed and efficiency.
Because the Transportation Security Administration imposes fewer regulations on smaller aircraft, those passengers would likely be able to skip long security lines.
Removing luggage check-in options also would save on time on the ground, he said. The resulting trip would feel more like a cross between private corporate air travel and hopping on a bus.