Auro Aero this week reported provisional sales for 130 more examples of its 19-seat Electric Regional Aircraft (ERA). The French start-up said that nine airlines have committed to adding the hybrid-electric model to their fleets, with deliveries set to begin in 2027. The latest agreement takes total “order intentions” confirmed to date to over 330 units, including a 200-aircraft commitment in October 2021 from leasing group Amedeo.
The newest letters of intent have been signed by Afrijet from Gabon (10 aircraft), Malta-based private aviation group Elit'Avia (20 aircraft), Brazilian logistics group Dux (20 aircraft), France’s Flying Green and Twinjet (10 and 25 aircraft, respectively), and FMS of Switzerland (10 aircraft). Three undisclosed operators have committed to the other 35 units.
The latest sales commitments include VIP and cargo versions of the ERA. Aura Aero has not specified how many seats the VIP cabin would have or which operators plan to buy this version. According to the company's website, the cargo version would have a payload of 2,500 kilograms (5,500 pounds) and a volume of 25 cubic meters (883 cu ft).
Aura Aero intends to start flying a full-scale prototype in 2024. The company now says the aircraft is expected to have a maximum payload range of 1,000 nm that would reduce to 215 nm for all-electric operations, and a cruise speed of 300 knots. It is expected to be able to operate from runways of as short s 600 meters (1,968 feet).
In April 2022, Aura Aero reached an agreement for French engine maker Safran to supply its EngineUs family of electric motors for the ERA’s propulsion system, along with its GeneUs distribution and protection system. Safran Electric & Power will also supply motors for the two-seat Integral E electric training aircraft that Toulouse-based Aura Aero is developing.
Last November, France’s DGAC aviation regulator issued Part 21G manufacturing approval to Aura Aero. This cleared the way for the company to start producing aircraft, starting with the piston-powered Integral R version of its new trainer. However, French investigator BEA is still working to confirm the cause of an April 12 accident in which two test pilots died when an Integral R prototype aircraft crashed.