MagniX, the electric aircraft engine builder, has moved into a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing building in an industrial park just north of Boeing’s sprawling plant in Everett, Wash.
Work will begin there within weeks on motors that will power the first of the all-electric Alice commuter aircraft being assembled by MagniX’s sister company, Eviation, which itself has moved into a new manufacturing plant in Arlington, Wash.
The goal is to have the first MagniX-powered Alices ready this summer to begin the test flights needed to get the planes certified to carry passengers, said Roei Ganzarski, who is both CEO of magniX and chairman of Eviation.
The move to Everett consolidates MagniX’s operations into one site. The company — founded in Australia in 2009 — previously maintained separate facilities in Redmond and in the Australian city of Gold Coast.
The new plant is a sign of how MagniX “continues to make tremendous progress toward revolutionizing commercial aviation,” Ganzarski said in a statement.
Singapore-based Clermont Group owns majority stakes in both MagniX and Eviation. Magnix and Eviation chose to set up in Snohomish County because of its existing aerospace infrastructure, Ganzarski said.
The Seattle region is a global aerospace hub, he noted. “It’s the ecosystem that Boeing has created around it — all the suppliers and the academics and the technical colleges. We really wanted to choose a location that was akin to and supportive of a start-up in aviation.”
Having the two companies just 28 miles apart also will be a unique advantage, in terms of working together on production issues and also serving customers, said Ganzarski. Customers coming to check on their planes and motors during production will be able to visit both sites and do it before lunch.
The two companies are hiring several dozen new workers as they ramp up for the start of test flights this summer. MagniX lists current openings for engineers, analysts and accounting and supply chain managers, as well as a head of sales. Eviation is hiring mechanics, engineers and quality assurance and project managers.
That doesn’t offset the thousands of aerospace workers laid off by Boeing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has roiled the global aerospace industry. But after years of bad news for Washington aerospace companies, local and state officials including Gov. Jay Inslee, state Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown, and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers issued statements in support of the news.
Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of milestones announced by MagniX in the past 18 months, which has included:
- The first flight of an all-electric commercial aircraft, a converted six-passenger de Havilland Beaver seaplane, for Vancouver’s Harbour Air;
- The first flight of a converted nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan;
- The announcement that MagniX was part of Universal Hydrogen’s effort to develop a hydrogen-fueled commercial aircraft;
- A deal with Sydney Seaplanes in Australia to convert its fleet of Cessna Caravan seaplanes to electric motors;
- Last month’s announcement that MagniX’s motors could power as many as 300 biofuel-electric hybrid triplanes proposed by UK startup Faradair.