A CLOSE eye is being kept locally on Scotland’s first trials of an electric-powered plane in Orkney.
A modified six-seat Cessna 337 which runs on both battery power and a conventional combustion engine has started making short haul flights between Orkney and Wick.
The plane is being run by aviation company Ampaire in conjunction with Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) as part of tests exploring making short haul flights greener.
One of the engines in the Cessna plane was replaced with an electric motor.
Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said the local authority is keen to look at whether electric technology could be rolled out on flights north of Orkney.
The council currently operates flights to Fair Isle and Foula.
“The launch of Scotland’s first electric powered aircraft is an extremely exciting step forward in terms of reducing emissions on aircraft,” Thomson said.
“While the technology is still in the early stages of development and roll out, we will investigate keenly on how such a model may work for our inter island service in Shetland going forward as we look to reach our own climate change targets.”
The trial is part of the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project, which is being led by HIAL.
Funded by government body UK Research and Innovation, SATE is based at Kirkwall Airport, which is also home to the UK’s first operationally based low-carbon aviation test centre.
“This is an important first step to decarbonising Scottish regional aviation, while lowering the cost of air service,” Ampaire founder and CEO Kevin Noertker said.
“It’s a model for what Ampaire will be able to offer regional carriers everywhere.”
Scottish Government minister for transport Graeme Dey said: “The Kirkwall test centre and companies such as Ampaire put Scotland at the forefront of the transition to low-carbon aviation.
“These demo flights are an important step towards delivering our commitment to decarbonise scheduled passenger flights within Scotland by 2040.”
HIAL chair Lorna Jack said: “Our involvement means we can support innovative projects from our partners to achieve a shared goal, decarbonise our operations and deliver environmentally sustainable aviation.
“Our aim is for HIAL to be at the forefront of Scotland’s efforts to transition to a low carbon future.”
Loganair, which operates flights from Sumburgh Airport, previously said it is confident it can fully convert its fleet to net zero carbon emissions over the next 20 years.
It also introduced a £1 carbon offset charge to all fares as part of plans to become carbon neutral by 2040.
The funds collected will go towards a programme of carbon offset measures.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 500 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News