Trio of Dutch airports to begin electric flight trial

The initiative will aid future research, with electric commercial flights expected to commence within the next five years

A trio of airports in the Netherlands – Eindhoven Airport, Rotterdam/The Hague Airport and Groningen Airport Eelde – are preparing to carry out electric flying trials.

Supported by the Royal Schiphol Group and NLR – Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre, the aim of the tests is for airports for gain knowledge of feasibility, potential and handling of electric flights.

The results from the study will aid research into the operation of scheduled electric air travel, which will be able to improve connectivity between regions – creating a vast network within Europe.

Photo Schiphol

“We are starting in the Netherlands where we can gain knowledge and experience in a controlled environment so that it can be used in the further rollout of electric flying within Europe,” said Roel Hellemons, CEO of Eindhoven Airport. “The trial is also important for the region. In addition to the fast connections that are created, electric flying offers opportunities for the Brainport region in terms of employment in, for example, charging systems.”

Michael Peters, CEO of Royal NLR, also added: "This trial fits well with our own research into the possibility of increasing the flight range of an all-electric aircraft using hydrogen. We also want to get grips with the 'electric turnaround'. These are procedures and actions to deploy a (hybrid) electric aircraft safely, efficiently and effectively. Steps to demonstrate the feasibility of electric flying."

It is expected that the first electric passenger flights will come into service in the Netherlands within the next five years.

According to management firm, M3 consultancy, this method of flying is economically and technically viable, with the ability to connect regions that are 500km apart, potentially expanding these distances to 1000km in the near future.