On June 18, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway’s Minister of Transport and Communications and airport operator Avinor’s CEO, Dag Falk-Petersen, took part in Norway’s first electric-powered flight. The flight represents a key milestone in efforts to electrify Norwegian aviation.
Minister Solvik-Olsen commented: “The Norwegian government has tasked Avinor with developing a programme that paves the way for the introduction of electric aircraft in commercial aviation. It was a great experience to be part of this flight and witness the evolution of aviation.”
Avinor’s CEO Dag Falk-Petersen added: “At Avinor we want to demonstrate that electric aircraft are already available on the market, as well as help make Norway a pioneer of electric aviation in the same way as the country has become a pioneer of electric cars.
“Along with energy saving measures, the ongoing modernisation of aircraft fleets and the introduction of sustainable biofuel, electric aircraft can help to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from Norwegian aviation in the coming decades. As electric engines cost must less to operate than current engines, this will result in lower prices for flight tickets.”
Avinor said it is working with aviation industry partners to help Norway become a world leader in electric aviation. They aim to make it the first country where electric aircraft account for a significant share of the market, and to electrify Norwegian domestic aviation by 2040. The project is supported by the government, and the project partners are Widerøe, SAS, the Norwegian Association of Air Sports, and climate foundation ZERO.
“We’d especially like to thank the Norwegian Association of Air Sports in connection with this flight. The association has gone to great lengths and played a vital role in preparations for the flight,” said Mr Falk-Petersen.
Avinor does not intend to charge landing fees for electric-powered light aircraft and will allow them to recharge free of charge until 2025. Avinor’s government-proposed programme to introduce electric aircraft will involve an evaluation of the various tools required to make the electrification of passenger aviation a success. In addition, Avinor noted that it will consider other key consequences, including possible conflicts between objectives, consequences for the climate and environment, and the effect on competition in Norwegian aviation.
The airport operator said that Norway’s vast mountainous regions and huge distances between towns and cities means that the country depends on an efficient aviation sector. The nation has many airports spread the length and breadth of the country. This results in sometimes short flights with relatively few passengers.
Mr Falk-Petersen added: “The Norwegian short-leg domestic network is ideal for trialling the first commercial electric-powered flights, which are expected to have a limited range and capacity.
“There is also a great political willingness in Norway to establish a framework that promotes electrification in other transport sectors, such as road traffic and ferries. In addition, Norway’s capacity for renewable energy makes electrification particularly attractive from a climate perspective,” he concluded.