The climate impact of aviation is well known. According to Transport & Environment, a clean transport campaign group, aviation emissions went from 1.5% of all European emissions in 1990 to 4.7% in 2019 and the sector is expected to fully recover from the Covid ‘shock’ as early as 2024.
However, we must also recognize the critical role that air connectivity plays in Europe. The sector supports close to 5 million jobs and contributes €300 billion, or 2.1% to European GDP according to the European Commission.
At Heart Aerospace we believe electric and hybrid-electric airplanes will not only decarbonize this sector, but also rejuvenate it by offering lower operational costs. By deploying regional electric and hybrid-electric aircraft, such as the ES-30, we estimate that we can double the number of airports with commercial air service in Europe. This transformation will result in more equitable access to transport, induce increased demand for regional aircraft and greatly increase jobs. In the spirit of the EU’s mantra of no state being left behind, we believe this change will ensure more regional communities in all EU member states are able to enjoy convenient, regional connectivity.
Further benefits will accrue to mainline airline operations by enabling more nimble and efficient regional operators to act as ‘feeders’ to their primary operating hubs, positively impacting their value and growth. The addition of e-aircraft to the transport network will be complementary to the existing infrastructure of large hub airports, highways and high-speed rail that have been constructed in dense population corridors.
While Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) remains a crucial component in achieving net-zero targets, up to one-third of the decarbonization effort in our sector can come from embracing such new technologies. We know SAF will be in short supply and must be prioritised for long haul air travel. New technologies such as electric aviation will be an important reliver in the demand for SAF and policy makers need to lean into this.
To ensure the success of electric aviation, we propose three key policy recommendations:
Equal Attention to New Technology: We urge policymakers to give as much attention to new technologies as they do to SAF. Both avenues are vital, and a balanced focus will ensure a more comprehensive and effective approach to decarbonizing aviation.
Increased Funding for Innovation: Historically, aviation has not received significant research and development support from initiatives like the EU Innovation Fund. As we bring forth a groundbreaking technology, we advocate for increased funding for electric aviation projects to accelerate their market entry.
Adapting European Policy: European policies must evolve to accommodate electric flight. Examples include the adaptation of the EU’s Public Service Obligation Routes, revisiting the current Air Traffic Control (ATC) charges system, overarching legislation related to the EU Green Deal, incentives & fiscal policy to support the acquisition of electric aircraft and a review of market access rules are all crucial steps. By incentivizing the uptake of zero-emission electric regional aircraft, European policymakers can actively contribute to the success of this transformative technology.
In conclusion, there is much work to be done, and we eagerly anticipate participating in discussions around these crucial topics. The future of regional aviation in Europe hinges on our collective ability to embrace innovation and adapt policies to foster the growth of electric flight. Thank you for your attention, and we look forward to being active contributors to this transformative journey.
Note to Editors:
Heart Aerospace is developing the ES-30, a regional electric airplane with a standard seating capacity of 30 passengers driven by electric motors with battery derived energy. It will have a fully electric zero emissions range of 200 kilometers, an extended hybrid range of 400 kilometers with 30 passengers and flexibility to fly up to 800 kilometers with 25 passengers, all including typical airline reserves.
Heart Aerospace has a total of 250 firm orders for the ES-30, with options and purchase rights for an additional 120 planes. The company also has letters of intent for a further 91 airplanes.
Live streaming of the European Parliament event on zoom: https://socialdemokraterna.zoom.us/j/88996040674
(meeting ID: 889 9604 0674)
Airplane pollution – Transport & Environment (transportenvironment.org)