First electric commuter flight to take off from Exeter Airport
- Credit: East Devon District Council
The announcement of the first electric commuter flight in the UK taking place at Exeter Airport has been welcomed by the district council leader.
Cllr Arnott was speaking after the announcement of a successful bid to UK Research and Innovation’s £30 million Future Flight Challenge.
The bid was submitted by a consortium led by Ampaire, a leader in electric aviation, with partners including Rolls-Royce Electrical, University of Nottingham, Loganair Ltd, Exeter and Devon Airport Ltd, Cornwall Airport Ltd, Heart of the South West LEP, and UK Power Network Services.
The team has received £2.4M from the Future Flight Challenge for its £5M 2ZERO programme, to demonstrate hybrid-electric aircraft on regional routes in the South West of the UK.
The 2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) programme involves putting in place and testing the infrastructure needed to enable the future of electric planes within existing airport and airline operations.
It will see electric aircraft testbed flights taking off at Exeter Airport and flying to Newquay Airport.
Cllr Arnott said: “The Airport has probably seen the heaviest impact from the pandemic of any business in East Devon.
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“We are keen to support a green recovery rather than just a return to business as usual and today’s announcement is a really important step towards this.
“It will ensure that the Airport can act as a test bed for new technologies including electric flight and can play a leading role in helping to meet the global challenge of decarbonising the aviation industry.
“This fits very well with the emphasis already placed on science, technology and engineering in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.”
Andrew Bell, Chief Executive of Regional & City Airports, the owners of Exeter Airport, said: “Exeter is an important regional airport and this project really puts us on the map as a forward-looking airport and demonstrates our commitment, along with our partners, to making the future of aviation a sustainable one.”
Successful demonstration up to 19 seats and 1 MW of power will help to shape regulations and standards which currently have gaps for these new classes of aircraft and airport operations.
The 2ZERO project will run until May 2022