South Burlington, VT- Electric aircraft production is underway at Beta Technologies after it officially opened the doors to what the company claims is the country’s first large-scale facility of its kind.
The new production facility is on the airport grounds at Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport, where a grand opening was held featuring Gov. Phil Scott, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Former Sen. Patrick Leahy, and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Beta Technologies CEO Kyle Clark says the building was designed to be completely net-zero, and the facility is the first of its kind in the nation. Clark even describes this milestone as “the important next step” in beating the climate crisis.
Clark says the company has come far since its beginning six years ago, saying, “as we built this company, we tried to do it incredibly thoughtfully, in a science and data-driven way with a clear mission at hand, which is to help turn the corner on climate change.”
Beta has built up a staff of nearly 600 across Vermont and in its flight training facility in Plattsburgh, NY.
“We’re just finishing up this building right now, and that wing jig, which is the first major tool of structures, gets complimented by another one next week, and in the weeks after and the weeks after, we build that structure right here, and over the next quarter this facility starts to fill out as we enter production,” says Clark.
Clark says by 2027, the new facility will be able to produce 300 aircraft a year, taking the next few years to complete a backlog of about 600.
In what many are calling a global climate crisis, Sen. Sanders calls air travel one of the biggest emitters.
“What is taking place right here, who would have believed it, in our small state, because of all of your collective activities, we are leading the world in helping to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and save the planet,” says Sanders.
With a clean mission, the company’s top supervisor and Gov. Scott say Beta will create thousands of jobs, even saying it has the potential to become one of the largest employers in the state.
“It’s this kind of creativity and ingenuity that gives me confidence that addressing climate change will also benefit the economy and will continue to accelerate, making it easier, more affordable, and more reliable as we move away from carbon-emitting fuels,” says Scott.
“These are the kind of jobs we need in Vermont,” notes Leahy.
“From the geothermal heat pumping through this manufacturing line to the acres of new rooftop solar, to ALIA herself, Beta is proof positives that the innovative spirit of Vermont and Burlington can fuel the progressive climate policy that our state and our nation must embrace to avert future climate disasters,” says Weinberger.
Looking into the future, Clark says the production, and the facility itself, will only get bigger as the company continues to build more electric aircraft.
Clark also says Beta Technologies holds a focus on employing young people and getting students into the workforce. He says about 3,000 students have toured the facility this year, and Sanders says he’s working on kick-starting an apprenticeship program in Vermont.