Finland’s Turku Airport welcomed its first electric aircraft with the traditional celebratory maiden flight water salute on Friday, June 16.

On board the ground-breaking flight were airport operator Finavia's CEO Kimmo Mäki and pilot and flight instructor Antti Kirjavainen. The aircraft was a two-seater Pipistrel Alpha Electro specially developed for educational use.

“It was a historic moment when the wheels of an electric aircraft touched the surface of the runway, turning a new page for the future of the airport. The entire aviation sector must use all possible means to reduce emissions. Silent and emission-free electric aircraft are one part of the aviation industry's climate solution,” said Kimmo Mäki.

Finavia has been working on the development of electric aviation since 2017, through for example, cooperation with the Helsinki Electric Aircraft Association. Information obtained during this and other collaborations has helped Finavia prepare for battery charging infrastructure, among other things.

Kimmo Mäki and Juha Aaltonen, Finavia

CEO Kimmo Mäki (left) with regional director and Turku Airport manager Juha Aaltonen

Electric aircraft play an important role in the climate solution for air traffic, but they alone will not revolutionise its future. The key to reducing air traffic emissions is replacing kerosene with fossil-free propulsion, i.e. electricity, hydrogen and fuel made from renewable raw materials. It is likely that different propulsion systems will be used in parallel, Finavia stressed.

“We have a clear vision that Finns and the Finnish business sector should continue to enjoy fast and good connections around the world and that Finns could still fly 100 years from now. We are taking climate change and people’s concerns seriously, and we are working persistently to reduce environmental effects. Our goal is to achieve a net zero carbon emission level at our airports within two years,” Mäki said.

Images: Finavia