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AMSTERDAM: KLM has partnered with Dutch trade association Electric Flying Connection (EFC) and E-Flight Academy in a two-day trial of electric flight to gain a better understanding what impact this technology will have on KLM’s logistics and infrastructure needs.

A series of 18 flights using a Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and only certified electric aircraft with a range of 50 minutes, operated between Lelystad and Schiphol-Oost – a distance of 65 kilometres.

“To make air transport more sustainable, we have to test new technologies and innovations in practice,” said Jolanda Stevens, programme manager for Zero Emission Aviation at KLM. “The things we do today on a small scale with the resources we have now, may prove to be important drivers of scalability in these applications in the future,”

The airline says a great deal of work still needs to be done to ensure the success of new technologies, with every piece of the puzzle falling into place. This includes new aircraft, different infrastructure, changes to the way airspace is used, adjustments to airline operations, and, at the heart of it all, the availability of green energy.

“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," adds Stevens.

KLM says it is reducing CO2 emissions by upscaling the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel, reducing fuel consumption through fleet renewal, increased operational efficiency, and improving the integration of air and rail transport.

EFC has over 50 members including airlines, electric aircraft and aircraft component manufacturers, flight academies, airports and companies developing recharging infrastructure.
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