Swedavia, the state-owned Swedish airport operator, has adopted a strategy for electric aviation. The aim is to prepare all ten airports in Sweden for electric-powered aircraft and to have the first commercial e-airline operating by around 2025.
As a first step, Swedavia will start operating a test site for electric aircraft at Åre Östersund Airport this autumn. This will provide aircraft parking areas with the necessary infrastructure for the first electric aircraft. In addition to the construction measures, several permits will also have to be obtained.
Åre Östersund Airport in central Sweden, close to the Norwegian border, is an ideal starting point for the electrification strategy because the airport is already home to a test zone for electric aircraft prototypes and drones. The other end of the test zone is at Røros Airport in Norway. The test zone between the two Nordic airports has been set up as part of the EU’s Green Flyway project launched in 2019.
In addition to Åre Östersund Airport, Umeå Airport in central Sweden will be made ready for electric flight, as will Visby Airport off the south coast of Sweden in Gotland. Umeå Airport is currently already involved in a project that is examining the potential for electrified flights between Sweden and Finland. In the long term, Swedavia plans to provide the infrastructure for handling electric aircraft at all ten of the Group’s airports across Sweden.
“We believe there is good potential for the first commercial electrified route in Sweden within five years. ,” says Swedavia CEO Jonas Abrahamsson. “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 Abrahamsson.
The Swedish government is prepared to support the development of electric aviation. By 2030, the country aims to make domestic air traffic free of fossil fuels. By 2045, this should then also apply to air traffic beyond national borders. Against this background, Swedavia is focusing on biofuel in the short term: By 2025, five per cent of all fuel used to refuel aircraft at Swedish airports should be free of fossil fuels.
“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,” concludes Abrahamsson.
>> With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.