The investment in electric aviation is another step in Swedavia’s work to promote the changeover to fossil-free domestic air transport in Sweden by 2030 and fossil-free air transport for all flights originating in the country by 2045. For many years, Swedavia has been carrying out work to increase the use of sustainable bio jet fuel.
“Bio jet fuel is critical in a short-term perspective for driving the aviation industry’s transformation in the face of climate change. But in the long term, electrification can also play a key role. Swedavia wants to take an active part at an early stage of this development and get an understanding of the conditions needed for electric aviation from an infrastructure perspective,” says Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia’s president and CEO.
A testing venue for electric aircraft is planned to be put into operation at Åre Östersund Airport during the autumn, at which time it will be possible to receive the first electric aircraft. Planning is currently under way for aircraft parking stands, infrastructure for charging aircraft and the power supply needed at the airport and to ensure the necessary permits.
Test flights of electric aircraft and drones will be carried out in the airspace between Åre Östersund and Røros Airport in Norway in collaboration with a number of partners both in Sweden and Norway under the framework for the EU project Green Flyway.
“We believe there is good potential for the first commercial electrified route in Sweden within five years. In the longer term, the electrification of routes can be an important addition to today’s scheduled traffic, primarily domestic flights. But electric air transport can also lead to brand-new routes between regional centres, which would benefit access and regional growth as well as create a whole new business model for air transport,” says Jonas Abrahamsson.
In the long term, all ten Swedavia airports will provide infrastructure for handling electric aircraft. In addition to Åre Östersund, Umeå Airport and Visby Airport are in the initial stages of developing electric aviation. Among other measures, Umeå Airport is taking part in a project to consider the possibilities of electrified flights between Sweden and Finland.
“Given the possibilities, Swedavia welcomes the Swedish government’s new initiative to study suitable measures to accelerate the introduction of electric aviation and the changeover to fossil-free air transport, which can contribute to Sweden’s access and to regional development throughout the country,” says Jonas Abrahamsson.
For many years, Swedavia has carried out ambitious sustainability work. All ten of its airports will have zero emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from their own operations by the end of 2020. Swedavia also works actively to promote the industry’s transition to bio fuel and has the goal that five per cent of all fuel used to refuel aircraft at Swedish airports shall be fossil-free by 2025.Since 2016, Swedavia purchases bio jet fuel equivalent to the amount used for the company’s flights for business purposes, about 450 tonnes of fuel a year.