‘Rather stimulate regional electric flights than closing airports’
Energy sipping battery flights
An important factor in the evolution to e-flights is the cost of flying, CASM (Cost per Available Seat per Mile). CASM average is around ten euro cent. According to Zunum Aero, the cost for their e-planes should be around seven cent, a claim that is difficult to verify. Airbus CTO, Paul Eremenko, says hybrid electric planes will be “safe, efficient and cost-effective”.
Using Dutch assets
In the Netherlands, Easyjet already announced to fly electric from Schiphol, but there is no national policy. The Netherlands trains some of the best aviation engineers, so why not invest in large-scale electric aviation?
Three measures could be a starting point. Firstly, start a Dutch legal frame with clear goals for a long-term electric aviation. This could provide security for the industry and regain trust in Schiphol airport’s future.
Secondly, a collaboration with Norway and other countries. A harmonious legislation could add a CO2 tax on flights to subsidize e-flying. Third possible measure: deploy Dutch financial means and knowledge to focus investments. These could also support existing projects to create a strong competitive position for the country.
Dare to invest
The worldwide climate problem can be tackled by introducing new technologies. Once upon a time, only few could imagine the success of Elon Musk’s emission-free car. An important factor to make that work was a reduction of the price per kilometer by economies of scale in production.
It is not necessary to leave it up to entrepreneurs. The Netherlands have proved this with wind energy from the North Sea. The price of that in 2016 was a quarter compared to that in 2012 thanks to a successful public-private collaboration.
This success has led to a worldwide interest in wind energy and more business for Dutch companies. Collaboration is of the essence to tackle rising CO2 emissions. It’s the challenge of the century.