By the end of this decade, Icelandair seeks to become the first national flag carrier airline to operate all its domestic routes with emissions-free aircraft. The airline operates three domestic routes from its home base at Keflavík airport to Egilsstadir, Akureyri and Isafjeérdur. Icelandair will exploit its homeland’s abundant cheap, carbon-free electricity to fuel the aircrafts, either by powering batteries or generating hydrogen for use in fuel cells. Last year, Norway’s ‘Wideroe airlines‘ announced plans for passenger operations with a nine-seat electric aircraft, but only on flights of up to 30 minutes: Icelandair‘s plans are more ambitious, with 30 to 40-seat aircrafts involved. Icelandair has struck agreements with two providers of the currently experimental aircraft systems: one is Sweden’s ‘Heart Aerospace’, manufacturer of the 30 seat ES-30, a regional aircraft powered by batteries; the other is US’s ‘Universal Hydrogen’, that has undertaken to convert Icelandair’s existing 37-seat Dash-8 turboprops to hydrogen power. If Icelandair managed to introduce the technology, it would show the way forward and it would be a huge boost for zero-carbon aviation, as some other countries have similarly abundant clean electricity, although mostly generated through solar power.
Iceland, Icelandair, Reykjavík, Technology, Tourism, Transport