“It was a historic moment when the wheels of an electric aircraft touched the surface of the runway, turning a new page for the future of the airport. The entire aviation sector must use all possible means to reduce emissions. Silent and emission-free electric aircraft are one part of the aviation industry's climate solution,” says Kimmo Mäki.
Since 2017, Finavia has been working on the development of electric aviation through, for example, cooperation with the Helsinki Electric Aircraft Association. The information obtained about electronic aviation has helped Finavia prepare for the battery charging infrastructure, among other things.
“The electric aircraft that landed at Turku Airport today is a two-seater Pipistrel Alpha Electro. It has been specially developed for educational use. Due to its short take-off run and high take-off speed, the aircraft is very suitable for small airports,” says Janne Vasama, Chairman of the Electric Aircraft Association.
Electric aircraft play an important role in the climate solution for air traffic, but they alone will not revolutionise its future. It is estimated that electric aircraft are best suited to short distances and small passenger numbers. Presently, the range of electric aircraft is 120 kilometres, with a few passengers on board.
The key to reducing air traffic emissions is replacing kerosene with fossil-free propulsion, i.e. electricity, hydrogen and fuel made from renewable raw materials. It is likely that different propulsion systems will be used in parallel.
“We have a clear vision that Finns and the Finnish business sector should continue to enjoy fast and good connections around the world and that Finns could still fly 100 years from now. We are taking climate change and people’s concerns seriously, and we are working persistently to reduce environmental effects. Our goal is to achieve a net zero carbon emission level at our airports within two years,” says Kimmo Mäki.
The flight of an electric aircraft will be part of the main airshow of the Finnish Aeronautical Association, held on 17–18 June 2023 at Turku Airport. In addition to an electric aircraft, Finavia's stand also showcases airport equipment running on renewable fuel.
Electric aircraft: Pipistrel Alpha Electro
Operating time: 1 h 30 min
Operational range: 120 km
Battery capacity: 21 kWh
Total weight: 370 kg
Cruising speed: 157 km/h
Fire truck: Rosenbauer Panther 6x6
Horsepower: 750 hp
Top speed: 115 km/h
Total weight with water and foam tanks full: 37,000 kg
The roof cannon sprays water or foam at 9,000 litres per minute up to 100 m away
Runway tractor: Valtra S 394
Horsepower: 405 hp 298 kW
Weight: with attachments 15,000 kg
In the winter: 5 m wide U-plough at the front, brush or snow blower at the rear
In the summer: lawn mowing and earthmoving