06 / 04 / 2022

Nord University presenting measures on how electric aviation procurements could be done by authorities – case ferry operations in Norway

Gisle Solvoll and Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen from Nord University have mapped on how electric aviation procurements could be done by authorities

Gisle Solvoll and Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen from Nord University have mapped the process when zero-emission vessels were procured for public ferry traffic – this to to assess what lessons can be used by the aviation authorities when requiring the use of electric aircraft – when procuring public routes.

Within ferry operations, the authorities in Norway (Statens vegvesen) have succeeded in replacing traditional diesel ferries with battery-electric ferries, hybrid ferries, and ferries powered by hydrogen, which are more environmentally friendly in operation than the diesel ferries.

– In order to succeed in developing and introducing environmentally friendly ferries, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration switched from traditional tenders where price was decisive for who should be allowed to operate the ferries on a route, to tenders where environmental considerations were decisive when the winner was to be chosen, Gisle Solvoll tells.

Gisle Solvoll, in the picture, and Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen from Nord University have mapped on how electric aviation procurements could be done by authorities

When more environmentally friendly ferries were to be used, it was initially difficult, nor desirable, to define which technical solutions were to be used. This meant that the procurement required a significant degree of innovation and entailed a relatively large risk for the ferry companies. This meant that a form of procurement was used called a competitive dialogue, which means that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration invited pre-qualified shipping companies to discuss and present possible solutions for building an environmentally friendly ferry. This form of procurement was particularly suitable as the procurer (the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the county municipalities with regard to ferry operations) wanted a delivery of electric ferries that were difficult to deliver without major adjustments being made to existing vessels, which were mainly diesel-powered ferries.

– Corresponding, innovation will be necessary when aviation is to switch to the use of electric aircraft. This means that the procurement form competitive dialogue can also be used when the national transport authorities in the Nordics is to purchase flight route services where more environmentally friendly aircraft are to be used, Gisle describes.

– The Nordic nation state’s procurement of regional airline services, the so-called PSO routes, has many similarities with the purchase of ferry services in Norway. Therefore, it is well placed for the national transport authorities in the Nordic countries to learn from the process initiated by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in 2010. A natural start of such work will be the Aviation Conference in Bodø 2023, Gisle continues.

The short-haul network in Norway is very well suited as a first market and an innovation arena for the introduction and use of electric aircraft. This is because small aircraft can be used here, the routes are short, and the state has a strong commitment through its route procurement.

How to succeed? 

Development and use of electric aircraft will involve several actors and will require a lot of development work. In order to succeed in electrifying aviation, it will be important to: 

  • Map power requirements at all airports in Norway. Charging aircraft requires significant amounts of energy, which means that the power grid in many places probably needs to be amplified. This can take a long time in some places. 
  • Involve the airport owner (Avinor), the Civil Aviation Authority, and various safety authorities, especially the Directorate for Safety and Emergency Planning (DSB) in the process. It is important to clarify at an early stage what operational and safety requirements are required of aircraft and infrastructure when aviation is to be electrified.
  • Establish an arena for dialogue between Avinor, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, battery manufacturers, manufacturers of battery banks, network companies, and more. It is particularly important that the Ministry of Transport and Communications clarifies what timetable they have for the phasing in of electric aircraft on the short-haul network. 
  • Prepare the tender documents to be used when procuring flight services. It will be natural for the state to take a greater share of the risk than with current contracts in order to make it more attractive for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and others to work out good technical solutions for both the aircraft and the necessary infrastructure. 


Geir Waage, Deputy Chairman of the Board of MidtSkandia and chairman of the Town Council of Rana in Norway, started the day by presenting the development trends in Mo i Rana and Helgeland. A lot is happening here, big and important in a Nordic context.


Ole M Kolstad, administrative director at Rana Utvikling, told more about business development; about Rana industrial park, one of the largest industrial parks in Norway, about how the regions business is involved in building the future and about work  initiated with a view to tourism development. Ole concluded by showing that the electric aviation project and the east-west connections are seen as very important and pointed out the interest in reviewing the following steps in the collaboration on electric aviation.


About the project

FAIR (Finding innovations to Accelerate the Implementation of electric Regional aviation) is a first step of preparing the Kvarken and Nordland region for an early implementation of electric aviation.

The project increases the knowledge base, investigates the possibilities and surveys both the needs and the required technical investments.

The project’s partnership consists largely of actors in three Ostrobothnian Counties (Finland), Västerbotten (Sweden) and Nordland (Norway).

This project is in line with the Traffic strategy for the E12-region with goals for carbon neutral transport as well as measures aimed at investigating east-west regional flight routes.
Financed by Interreg Botnia-Atlantica

Read more www.flyfairkvarken.com