The Kvarken Council carried out an Electric-Powered Flights Feasibility Study in autumn 2019 with the purpose of developing a project idea regarding the regional developmental impact of electric-powered air traffic. The feasibility study has now led to a funding application for a two-year project about electric flights – FAIR (Finding Innovations to Accelerate Implementation of Electric Regional Aviation).
Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council, sees the region as an excellent testing area for regional electric air traffic. – The aviation industry’s electrification also leads to reduced fuel and maintenance costs which, in turn, creates preconditions for a whole new regional aviation system due to a more competitive operational economy. The region’s airports would also receive a completely new operating platform.
The Kvarken Council functions as the project’s Lead Partner in a broad partnership consisting of public and private actors. The funding application has now been sent to Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia and Region Västerbotten. There are hopes that FAIR will become the region’s new flagship project. The project’s total budget is around one million euros. The funding decision will be made in April.
The project’s primary goal is to develop a method for the early and efficient commercialization of electric-powered regional flights in the Kvarken region. The region’s long distances and inadequate flight connections make it an excellent testing area.
– The current range of electric airplanes suits our area well and would drastically reduce travel times. The economic life, cultural life, public collaboration and even the tourism industry would all benefit from this, says Mr Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council.
– The significance of acting as a pioneer should not be underestimated. In addition, the region is well suited in terms of everything else that we have going on within renewable energy research and battery manufacturing. Showing that the region also implements the raw materials that we extract and the technologies that we develop will, hopefully, increase these industries’ industrial investments in the region, Lindström continues.
The project consists of three main project parts. The first is to carry out a market analysis and a description of regional effects. The second is to develop guidelines for measures that must be implemented in the region in order to support an early implementation of electric flights. This also includes suggestions for funding models. The third is to develop new services, products and business models in an innovation process with the purpose of gaining added value from electric flight technology within the public and private sectors.
A positive by-product would be increased awareness and knowledge of electric flights and the networks that could be created via the project. These would propel the Kvarken region’s actors into the forefront of the development of electric-powered flights.
– There is widespread interest in the topic, which is shown by the broad partnership that we have managed to create. This is an opportunity for us to tie the region even closer together, and we can make this into our region’s new flagship project with the help of our partners, Lindström concludes.
Text: Anna Sand