Canadian flagship airline Air Canada and Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab have bought minority interests in Heart Aerospace, an electric aircraft manufacturing firm based in Sweden.

The deal involved a $5m equity investment from each of the buyers.

Heart Aerospace founder and CEO Anders Forslund said: “We are thrilled to have two such strong partners as Saab and Air Canada join our mission to electrify regional air travel.

“Growing up in Sweden, Saab is synonymous with aerospace, and our partnership will not only support our programme but help us to become a part of the proud Swedish aerospace heritage.

“Air Canada is a strategically important partner with one of the world’s largest networks operated by regional turboprops, and as a progressive, future-leaning company.”

Air Canada has also placed an order to acquire 30 ES-30 aeroplanes from Heart Aerospace.

ES-30 is a regional electric carrier with a 30-passenger capacity, which is expected to start operations in 2028.

Equipped with electric motors powered by batteries, it is claimed to be a zero-emission and low-noise aircraft.

The ES-30 will replace the ES-19, the firm’s previous 19-seat design.

Air Canada president and CEO Michael Rousseau said: “Air Canada is very pleased to partner with Heart Aerospace on the development of this revolutionary aircraft.

“We have been working hard with much success to reduce our footprint, but we know that meeting our net-zero emissions goals will require new technology such as the ES-30.

“We have every confidence that the team at Heart Aerospace has the expertise to deliver on the ES-30’s promise of a cleaner and greener aviation future.”

In a separate development, Wellington Airport in New Zealand has joined the Heart Aerospace advisory board to help the company develop its ES-30 electric aircraft.

Air New Zealand and Christchurch Airport are also part of the Industry Advisory Board.