Two African operators sign deals with Surf Air Mobility on fleet electrification

Surf Air

East African airlines Safarilink and Yellow Wings Air Services have signed agreements with Surf Air Mobility to electrify their Cessna Grand Caravan fleets.

Surf Air is currently developing electrified powertrain technology which, once certified, will be retrofitted to Safarilink and Yellow Wings’ Grand Caravans. As the exclusive partner to Textron to electrify the Caravan, Surf Air is focusing on building its business in regions around the world, such as Africa, that are already significant markets for that airframe. 

Surf Air is developing the supplemental type certification for both hybrid and fully-electric variants of the Grand Caravan. It has target reductions of up to 50% direct operating costs and 100% in carbon emissions for the fully-electric powertrain.

Stan Little CEO of Surf Air Mobility said: “The Caravan is an amazing aircraft on which to develop our electrified powertrain, and we believe Safarilink and Yellow Wings’ operations are perfectly suited to demonstrate the benefits of our technology. We believe Africa is at the cutting edge of regional air mobility. Surf Air is excited to work with innovative, pioneering companies like Safarilink and Yellow Wings.”

The agreements align with the Kenyan government’s recent announcement to completely move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources by 2030. Both Safarilink and Yellow Wings are already focused on sustainability and wildlife conservation efforts, however the companies believe the move to electrified aircraft will drive sustainability this further.

Alex Avedi CEO of Safarilink explained: “We at Safarilink are committed to doing everything possible to preserve the natural beauty of the countries we operate in. Implementing Surf Air Mobility’s electric powertrain technology will help us reduce the noise and minimise the climate impact of our flights as we help people from all over the world to experience our region’s incredible ecosystem.”

Christian Strebel CEO of Yellow Wings, which serves over 500 airfields throughout East Africa, added: “We strongly believe in alternative propulsion for air travel. We have always been the frontrunners in adopting new systems and innovations. Kenya, with 91% carbon free power generation is the ideal country to spearhead this movement. The companies are excited about the potential to transform regional aviation within Kenya and East Africa by demonstrating the viability and impact that electrified Caravans will have on the industry.”


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