Rolls-Royce, Tecnam and Scandinavia’s largest airline, Widerøe, have entered into a partnership that will see the launch of an all-electric aircraft for passengers by 2026.
Rolls-Royce and Widerøe first entered a joint research program in 2019, which was aimed at developing a viable electric aircraft to fulfill Norway’s ambition of having only zero-emission domestic flights by 2040. Due to its topography, Norway largely relies on airways for connection, as is the case with most Scandinavian countries.
“Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero-emissions technologies,” said Stein Nilsen, CEO of Widerøe. “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.”
Rolls-Royce will offer its expertise in developing the power and propulsion systems. On the other hand, Tecnam will be responsible for developing the aircraft design as well as overseeing manufacturing and certification. Once the plane design is ready, Widerøe will take over to ensure that airline operations are prepared for service by 2026.
“We are highly excited to be offered the role as launch operator, but also humble about the challenges of putting the world’s first zero-emissions aircraft into service,” said Andreas Aks, chief strategy officer at Widerøe. “Our mission is to have all new capabilities, processes and procedures required for a zero emissions operator, designed and approved in parallel with the aircraft being developed and certified.”
Currently, Rolls-Royce is a leading global manufacturer of aircraft engines and other airplane parts. Given the influence it has in the manufacturing of aircraft and submarine parts, Rolls-Royce can help the world move away from emissions in this sector.
Image via Rolls-Royce and Tecnam