What is electric regional air mobility?

This week FGA joined a group of aviation experts in Malta at MACE to discuss region air mobility (RAM) and the business case for electrification of RAM.

Having already met Stein Nilsen, CEO of the Norwegian airline Widerø, this year to discuss their electric strategy, it is clear that electrification is on its way. It has been touted to be commercially ready by 2026 on initially short commuter routes with 9-seater planes. This form of regional air mobility will work well for countries like Norway who have an excess of green electricity from their hydropower and beginning to install charging points in airports such as Stavanger.

The Stavanger to Bergen route being discussed as one of the first to fly electric. You can read about this new electric project online at www.elflyportalen.no. Just a 40 mins journey between the 2 cities by air. 

The landscape and infrastructure of Norway means it’s often much quicker to fly. The Stavanger to Bergen route taking 4-5 hours by car and in winter sometimes even longer due to heavy snow and with the need to clear the roads regularly.

The points brought up with regards to increased use of rail is the huge infrastructure investment required globally. With electrified regional air mobility this is not an issue but, of course, does require new planes to be purchased or leased by the operators and part of a low carbon diversification plan. Some of the investment required would sit with the airports due to needing to fit chargers and then subsequently being responsible for supplying green electricity to operators.

Definitely work needed to be done in conjunction with national governments as part of energy transition roll out plans, as not all countries have an excess of green electricity and this development would need to be concurrent to electrification, and likely requiring incentives or favourable loans rates or investment packages to carry out the deployment of the charging hardware.

On the panel in Malta we also heard about the case of Sweden who are investing in green electricity production to also cater for future green electricity demand and certainly from aviation. Fredrick Kampfe and Hendrik Littorin discussing Northvolt and the need for behavioural change. 

We were also pleased to speak to the External Environmental Specialist at Avinor recently. Avinor, who manage 41 airports in Norway, also discussed in the webinar session ‘Stakeholder Forum on the impact of climate change on aviation‘ already needing to mitigate for extreme weather so have environment firmly in their strategic development.

The attendees from the business aviation sector event being especially interested and happy to adopt electric due to the initial plane sizes being commercialised being much more suited to business aviation rather than general or commercial aviation.

The IBAC and Bombardier roadmap which EBBA work towards discussing that 40% of decarbonisation of business aviation by 2050 will be coming from electrification and alternative technologies. 

Also it’s good to see clearly what the carbon comparisons are between transports modes to see where competitive advantage lies.

Kevin Antcliff, previously at NASA, having created a white paper outlining the business case and factors that need to be considered and worked out before the case can work commercially. All was discussed in the session at MACE.

Herve Laitat discussing the business case is still missing and FGA saying we are working on this, as well as societal acceptance, which we will work on with Imperial College London through the various alliances created. 

It was a very interesting panel discussion and conference. Filippo Arcaleni, lawyer from DF Advocates having put the panel together, looking to the future and building conversation and opportunity for the sector. Discussing the importance of having a balanced and solid legal framework as well as the financial benefits to smaller regional airports. Airports that are unlikely to receive sustainable aviation fuel in the future due to small amounts of traffic but who can install charging points.

FGA were pleased to be invited to share our knowledge on the electric way to fly green in the future and in order to start the building-block conversations which connect dots in the industry.

FGA are available for introductory workshops. From initial foundational work we then develop plans and ideas for your business from finance packages to roadmaps. 

Are you in Aviation? Business Travel? Mobility? Get in touch with sarah@flygreenalliance.org to start to build your business’s sustainable future. 

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