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United says it's investing in Swedish electric-plane firm

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CHICAGO — United Airlines says it is investing in a startup that is trying to build electric-powered aircraft and might buy 100 of the small planes.

The airline declined Tuesday to say how much money it will put into Sweden-based Heart Aerospace.

Heart vows to produce and win regulatory approval of its ES-19 design by 2026. United said the plane “has the potential” to carry passengers short distances by the end of the decade.

United said it has “conditionally agreed” to buy 100 of the 19-seat planes if they meet the airline’s safety, business and operating needs, which it didn’t spell out. It said that Mesa Airlines, which operates many United Express regional flights, made a similar pledge for 100 planes.

This is the latest in a series of announcements by United expressing interest in electric and supersonic planes.