B.C.-based Helijet orders first electric vertical-takeoff aircraft

VICTORIA — A British Columbia helicopter airline says it's placed Canada's first order for an electric vertical-takeoff aircraft to add to its passenger and cargo fleet.

Helijet International president Danny Sitnam says the ALIA aircraft built by Vermont-based BETA Technologies will allow quicker, quieter and more efficient landings and takeoffs from hospitals and other emergency zones.

The ALIA is an eVTOL aircraft, standing for electric vertical takeoff and landing, and Sitnam says those capabilities offer tremendous potential for emergency response, air ambulance and organ transfer services in B.C.

Sitnam says the zero-emission aircraft, which is currently undergoing regulatory tests, will carry five passengers and a pilot.

It has wings, four drone-like horizontal rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter, and a propeller at the back for thrust.

Helijet, which is based in Vancouver, says the ALIA will be available for private and commercial service in 2026.

BETA Technologies has a research and development facility at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.

The Canadian Press