To curb emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, Norwegian civil airport operator AVINOR and the Green Party are poised to develop more environmentally-friendly flights. The vast and sparsely populated County of Finnmark, which nevertheless enjoys a dense network of regional flights, seems like a suitable place.
"Finnmark's airport structure makes it a good area for testing electric aircraft," AVINOR Environmental Manager Olav Mosvold Larsen told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK, voicing the desire for Norway to become the driving force for this type of aircraft.
The fact that Finnmark County is situated above the Arctic Circle and is renowned for its notoriously harsh climate does not seem to offset Norway's plans. Even if flying in the Arctic may indeed be demanding in terms of weather and fjords-and-mountains landscape, Finnmark's well-developed network of airports with STOL-compatible runways (with short takeoff and landing) makes it a suitable testing place, Mosvold Larsen pointed out.
According to Mosvold Larsen, Norway drew inspiration from a flight in mid-2015, when an all-rechargeable aircraft by Airbus flew from England to France. The green tour went over the English Channel and took about an hour.
"Together with the Norwegian Air Sports Federation, we got Airbus to send up their electric plane on an exhibition tour, which became an eye-opener, Mosvold Larsen told.
At present, however, Widerøe, which serves about 50 destinations, is working on environmentally friendly biofuels and other non-polluting options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even Olav Mosvold Larsen admitted that it would take a while before electric aircraft becomes an everyday reality, especially at long distances. Nevertheless, it is regarded as a major future opportunity for both Norwegian and international aviation.
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