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Investors put faith in electric-powered aeroplane

Investors have backed an electric-powered aeroplane which could revolutionalise the travel industry.

Boeing and JetBlue have poured an undisclosed amount of money into the Zunum Aero, the first aeroplane which will run on electric.

Zunum Aero founder and CEO Ashish Kumar said: "I consider us very fortunate to have backers like JetBlue and Boeing. We have been engaged with both companies for about a year, and both are as passionate as we are in this opportunity to reinvent regional air travel."

The planned aircraft would hold between 10 and 50 passengers and has a maximum travel distance of 1000 miles. It would also have a "diesel or turbine range-extending power generator" in case of emergencies.

Jet Blue's President of Technology Ventures, Bonny Simi, said: "At JetBlue Technology Ventures, our goal is to be part of a disruptive force rather than the one being disrupted, and we seek new technologies that look to change the game.

"As a company that is also deeply committed to innovation in sustainable travel, we believe that Zunum and its quiet, environmentally friendly aircraft will light up a vast network of underutilised airports and reinvent regional travel."

The team behind Zunum Aero also says the new aircraft - which the team is hopeful to release in the 2020s - will make short-haul travel quicker, cheaper and produce fewer emissions.

Writing on their website, they added: "Imagine leaving your doorstep in San Jose at 7 AM and making it to a 9:30 AM meeting in Pasadena. With Zunum Aero, simply drive to a nearby airfield and walk to your aircraft with bags in tow, for a trip that will take half the time and at a much lower fare. Or skip the meeting altogether, and be on the slopes in Tahoe by 8:40 AM for $100 round-trip, and back home the same evening ...

"Did you know that short-haul flights produce over 40% of aviation emissions? With our aircraft, we believe these will be largely eliminated within twenty years. Our aircraft are 'hybrid-to-electrics' that sip fuel only when they have to, will use even less over time as batteries upgrade, and will one day go completely without - so that flying will be kind to the Earth."

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