Bern Airport 9.9.2023 – Electrifly-in Switzerland 2023 Elektroflugzeug Pipistrel Velis

Primary Position for Electric Planes in Europe This Summer

AIR NEWS BUSINESS TOURISM

Bookings are now open for the first publicly available international electric flights in Europe, but travel comes with some caveats.

A first taste of zero-emission air travel is coming to European skies this summer — and they’re available to book for as little as 120 euros ($129).

During a two-month trial period, passengers will be able to travel on Electrifly electric flights between selected airports in Europe, according to a report by Skift.

Travel is available to book now for flights between July 1 and August 31 that will be served by the airports of Liège in Belgium, Maastricht Aachen in the Netherlands and Aachen-Merzbrück in Germany. Flight times between destinations range from 16 to 26 minutes.

What’s the trap?

As you would expect with such a futuristic design, there are a few caveats.

Unlike normal commercial flights, travel will be carried out in very small two-seater aircraft. With one of the two seats occupied by the pilot, there is only one seat left for one passenger. Given the modest dimensions of Electrifly’s Pipistrel Velis Electro plane, absolutely no luggage can be boarded.

With size being a critical factor, passengers will also need to declare their body weight before departure. For safety reasons, the pilot and passenger cannot weigh a total of more than 178 kg.

The project and the innovative idea

In addition to the three airports, Electrifly’s partners also include Aachen University of Applied Sciences, carrier ASL Group and Chinese electric car company NIO.

According to the consortium, the broader goal is to present a vision for the future of so-called “eAviation”. In time, it is hoped that passengers will be able to connect between European hubs with low- or zero-emission electric aircraft.

Electrifly is not the world’s first electric aircraft operator. However, it claims to be the first to transport passengers across borders by electric plane.

A one-way trip costs 120 euros ($129), while a round trip is priced at 160 euros ($171).

The idea of making the flights available to the public is innovative, however the aircraft itself has been around for several years. In 2020, the Pipistrel Velis Electro was certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, making it the only electric plane currently approved by the regulator.

As Skift has already reported, there are multiple projects underway worldwide that hope to use hybrid or pure electric aircraft. These include ambitious proposals in Dubai that could see a new generation of vertical take-off and landing aircraft take off as early as next year.

Electric and getting to the airport

On the ground, NIO vehicles will help deliver on the promise of “electric door-to-door transportation.” Passengers within a 15km radius of the airport will be picked up and carried on board by a fleet of electric cars.

An Electrify spokesperson told Skift that “at the end of the two-month summer trial, the results will be evaluated, contributing to new testing, with other conditions or equipment.”

The agency confirmed that there are currently no flights scheduled beyond the July and August tests.

Despite the limitations, Jonas van Stekelenburg, CEO of Maastricht Aachen Airport, described Electrify’s program as “a glimpse into the future of aviation.” He added that it represents an “open call” to use the space as a testing ground for next-generation technology.

Prospective passengers interested in boarding can visit the Electrifly website to make a reservation.

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