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Pilot phase of short flights in electric aircraft takes off in the Netherlands

Electric aircraft from the Electrifly project
Electric aircraft from the Electrifly project Copyright NLNOS
Copyright NLNOS
By Euronews
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It is a two-month trial in which people can fly without emissions between the airports of Maastricht, Liège and Aachen.

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Travellers can now take a short international flight in an electric aircraft from Maastricht Aachen Airport in the Netherlands.

It is a two-month trial of The Electrifly Project in which people can fly without emissions between the airports of Maastricht, Liège and Aachen (Merzbrück).

These are flights of between 30 and 50 kilometres and it is expected that initially, mainly business people will use them.

According to Maastricht Aachen Airport CEO Jonas van Stekelenburg, the flight has no emissions and less noise. "That is of course the dream everyone has," says Stekelenburg.

Only one passenger can fit on the plane next to the pilot. With the batteries still far too heavy for longer flights, it is not yet possible to bring a lot of luggage as a total of 178 kilograms of weight may be on board.

Maastricht Aachen Airport sees this as an important step towards sustainable travel.

Are longer electric flights on the horizon?

"So we have the first international flight. To Aachen. A fifteen-minute flight. Not that far, but much quieter, and without fuel," says pilot Tim Tomic.

“The battery is 95 per cent charged. That's more than enough for the flight we want to make. Naturally, we want to have it this full," adds Tomic.

There are concerns however about the feasibility of offering the flights more often and flying farther distances.

“Going on holiday with this... will certainly take another 10 years before those aircraft are available to fly to interesting holiday destinations," says Geert Boosten, a former teacher in aviation.

The 'Electrifly project' expects the test phase in July and August to offer more insight into these.

According to Stekelenburg, that was also the case with electric cars in the beginning.

"Then there was an electric car on display at the Binnenhof [at Dutch parliament] that could drive 40 kilometres, and five years later it could already drive 400 kilometres."

With aviation accounting for approximately 4 per cent of climate change, some experts believe electrification is one option for reducing the environmental impacts of climate change.

A single flight from an electric aircraft from Maastricht Aachen Airport to Liège or Aachen costs about €120.

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