In a groundbreaking event that offers a glimpse into the future of aviation, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, in collaboration with the Electric Flying Connection (EFC) and the E-Flight Academy, recently hosted a two-day experience of electric flying. The event provided 18 lucky guests with the opportunity to take a trial flying lesson aboard the Pipistrel Velis Electro, a certified two-seat electric aircraft. These flights operated between Lelystad Airport and Schiphol-Oost, offering valuable insights into electric flight logistics and the challenges it presents.
Jolanda Stevens, program manager for Zero Emission Aviation at KLM, emphasized the importance of testing new technologies in practice to make air transport more sustainable. She highlighted that the initiatives undertaken today could pave the way for scalable applications in the future.
Schiphol Airport was chosen as the starting point due to its status as KLM’s home base. The Pipistrel Velis Electro, while limited in range, presented a unique opportunity to explore the logistics and infrastructure required for electric flight. As electric aircraft need recharging, cooperation with airports and air traffic control is vital to ensure safe and efficient operations.
While the Pipistrel Velis Electro would never practically become a part of KLM’s route network, these trial flight lessons serve as an important stepping stone towards future electric aviation. Market experts predict that by 2035, larger electric aircraft capable of carrying 50 to 100 passengers with longer ranges will emerge. KLM’s commitment to researching various technologies, including electric, hydrogen, and hybrid propulsion, underscores its dedication to sustainable aviation.
KLM’s climate strategy is aligned with the journey towards Zero Emission Aviation. The airline recognizes the need for cleaner, quieter, and more fuel-efficient operations, and KLM’s journey along this path means not only adopting new aircraft but also developing infrastructure, optimizing airspace usage, and enhancing operational efficiency. Collaboration across the aviation value chain is essential to overcoming the challenges and uncertainties associated with this transition.
The Electric Flying Connection (EFC) is a trade association with over 50 members from various segments of the electric flight ecosystem, plays a pivotal role in advancing the sustainability of air transport. By connecting airlines, aircraft manufacturers, flight academies, infrastructure developers, and more, EFC fosters collaboration and innovation in the pursuit of greener skies.
Why it’s important: KLM’s recent electric flying experience demonstrates the airline’s commitment to pioneering sustainable aviation solutions. As the industry progresses, initiatives like these will contribute to a more eco-friendly and efficient future for aerial mobility and increase awareness to the general public about the progress being made in the industry.