Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are joining forces with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, with services targeted to start in 2026.
The project expands on a research programme between Rolls-Royce and Widerøe on sustainable aviation and the existing partnership between Rolls-Royce and Tecnam on powering the all-electric P-Volt aircraft.
Stein Nilsen, Chief Executive, Widerøe said: “Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero emissions technologies. This aircraft shows how quickly new technology can and will be developed, and that we are on track with our ambition of flying with zero emissions around 2025.”
Before the pandemic, Widerøe offered around 400 flights per day using a network of 44 airports, where 74% of the flights have distances less than 275 km. The shortest flight durations are less than fifteen minutes.
Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “Electrification will help us deliver our ambition to enable the markets in which we operate achieve net zero carbon by 2050. This collaboration demonstrates Rolls-Royce’s ambitions to be the leading supplier of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion and power systems across multiple aviation markets.”
Due to its topography, Norway makes extensive use of aviation for regional connectivity and has an ambition for all domestic flights to be zero emissions by 2040. Rolls-Royce will bring its expertise in propulsion and power systems, Tecnam will provide aircraft design, manufacturing and certification capabilities. Widerøe’s role will be to ensure that all competence and requirements of an airline operator are in place for entry into service in 2026.
Developing all-electric aircraft will enable people to be connected in a sustainable way and will fulfill Wideroe’s ambition to make its first all-electric flight by 2026. The all-electric P-Volt aircraft, which is based on the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft, is well-suited for short take-off and landing runways.
Andreas Aks, Chief Strategy Officer, Widerøe, added: “We are humble about the challenges of putting the world’s first zero emissions aircraft into service.”