KLM peeks into the future of electric flights by supporting trials of an electric plane flying from Schiphol to Lelystad.
The collaboration between the Electric Flying Connection (EFC) and the E-Flight Academy gave birth to this remarkable initiative.
“This unique event aims to give all relevant stakeholders an opportunity to experience electric flight and what this innovation could mean for them in practical terms. We are pleased that KLM has joined us in taking this step. We already have plans for future Benelux-wide editions of this event,” said Jurjen de Jong, chairman of EFC.
The decision to begin at Schiphol was strategic, given its status as KLM’s main hub. Considering the limited range of the Pipistrel aircraft, the team narrowed the choices to four potential destination airports. Ultimately, Lelystad Airport stood out due to its convenient accessibility, well-equipped charging infrastructure, high-quality runways, and efficient air traffic control operations.
KLM, EFC, and E-Flight Academy: coordinating logistics and infrastructure for electric plane trials
KLM partnered with EFC and the E-Flight Academy to learn more about electric flight and determine how this technology will impact KLM’s logistics and infrastructure needs.
Jolanda Stevens explains: “Electric flight will also affect flight handling. Electric aircraft have to be recharged, which takes time, and we will need to cooperate with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands to ensure that this mode of flying is not only safe, but also provided with the correct power supply. This two-day event has helped us gain more insight into such matters.”
Inside the electric plane: Pipistrel Velis Electro
The Pipistrel Velis Electro is the first and only electric aircraft that has received certification. This innovative two-seater plane can fly for approximately 50 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes of reserve power. This is too small to suit KLM’s extensive network of destinations. However, the airline is exploring the potential of electric flights for future operations. Experts in the market expect that by 2035, electric aircraft might accommodate between 50 and 100 passengers. These future electric planes could cover distances of 400 to 750 kilometers within a flight range of 90 minutes. However, the batteries required are heavy. Developing larger electric aircraft for longer routes, such as the one spanning from Amsterdam to New York, remains impractical.
KLM’s path to sustainable aviation: a practical, achievable climate strategy
Says Stevens: “Looking at the future of zero-emission flights, KLM is backing different technologies and innovations simultaneously. With our sector partners at home and abroad, we’re researching flights powered by electricity, hydrogen and hybrid forms, and assessing how these developments can be accelerated.”
KLM aims to reduce its ecological footprint and embrace sustainable practices. The airline has committed to cleaner, quieter, and more fuel-efficient operations in pursuing a greener future. Achieving Net-Zero emissions in aviation is a crucial aspect of the airline industry‘s climate strategy.
This ambitious goal requires extensive efforts in various areas. Efforts include advancing innovative technologies, improving infrastructure, optimizing airspace usage, and refining airline procedures. Critically, airlines need to secure a reliable supply of renewable energy.
Collaboration among all stakeholders in the aviation industry will help overcome the challenges and uncertainties along this transformative journey.
KLM will reduce its CO2 emissions through various initiatives. They include the widespread adoption of sustainable aviation fuel, fleet modernization, and enhanced operational efficiency. The airline also recognizes the importance of seamless integration between different modes of transportation. KLM sees a closer integration of air and rail to promote a sustainable and interconnected future.
About the Electric Flying Connection
The Electric Flying Connection (EFC) trade association for electric flight has over 50 members. They represent many companies in the electric flight ecosystem. These include airlines (like KLM), electric aircraft and aircraft components manufacturers, flight academies, organizations developing recharging infrastructure, and airports. The objective of the EFC is to connect the value chain to advance the sustainability of air transport.