9 SEPTEMBER 2019
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Scandinavia’s largest regional airline Widerøe has gone into partnership with UK engineering firm Rolls-Royce to develop an electric aircraft for the future through a joint research programme on zero-emissions aviation.
Widerøe says the programme is part of its ambition to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30-plus aircraft by 2030, with a network of STOL airports making its home country of Norway the “perfect testbed”.
Rolls-Royce officials said the company would use its in-depth electrical and systems design expertise to help to advise on all elements of the project. The initial phase, which involves operational studies and concept proofing, is already under way.
The development follows the Norwegian government’s announcement of ambitious goals for the aviation industry, with the aim of achieving emission-free domestic aviation by 2040.
Widerøe’s research is being supported by the Norwegian government through its Innovation Norway project and climate and environment minister Ola Elvestuen, who has championed the Norwegian STOL network as a test bench for the development of zero-emissions aircraft.
Widerøe chief strategy officer Andreas Aks said: “We are aiming to have emission-free commercial flights in the air by 2030. Partnering with Rolls-Royce for this research programme puts us one step closer to reaching that goal.”
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