Canada’s first-ever commercial electric flight takes off in B.C.

Click to play video: 'First Canadian commercial electric flight soars over Vancouver Island'
First Canadian commercial electric flight soars over Vancouver Island
WATCH: History was made in Canada, as the country's first commercial electric flight took off from Vancouver Island. As Catherine Urquhart reports, a lucky flight school student got the opportunity of a lifetime – Jun 14, 2024

It’s a historic day for Canadian aviation.

Sealand Flight, based in Campbell River, B.C., conducted Canada’s first-ever commercial flight in an electric aircraft on June 14.

Ian Lamont, a flying instructor, told Global News it’s a thrill and an honour.

He said that overall the main difference with this aircraft will be fuel cost.

“The price of fuel (aviation) gas today is over $80 an hour for the fuel burn in (a Cessna) 172. And this is going to be less than two dollars,” Lamont said.

He added they would like to convert their entire fleet to electric aircraft.

Click to play video: 'Electric aircraft set to take off in B.C.'
Electric aircraft set to take off in B.C.

To mark the occasion, Sealand held a contest for students to tell them why they wanted to pilot an electric aircraft.

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Edwin Clements, 15, from Campbell River won the contest.

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“I wanted to do this because I personally want to fly planes,” he said. “That’s what I’ve kind of learned and am excited about now.”

Clements added that he is thrilled to be taking part in such a monumental moment in Canadian aviation history.

“We have immense gratitude for the collaborative efforts of our industry’s pursuit towards sustainability. We are overjoyed to be the first to offer electric flight commercially, though it would not be possible without the efforts of many innovators,” Mike Andrews of Sealand Flight said in a statement.

“While it will still be a challenging pathway to navigate moving forward, the doorway to implementing commercial sustainable aviation technologies has now firmly been opened.”

The flight school will now start teaching several new students from the introductory stage to the solo stage. They will then move on to classical internal combustion engine aircraft for the remainder of their training.

While this was the first commercial flight, e-planes debuted in the province in 2019.

Harbour Air’s prototype, the world’s first fully-electric commercial aircraft, made its maiden test flight in 2019, and completed its first point-to-point test flight in August 2022, travelling 72 km from Richmond to Sidney on Vancouver Island in 24 minutes.

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– with files from Global’s Simon Little

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