Finnair considers focusing on electric aviation as the company believes that it will be “one of the tools for the future of flying”. The flag carrier of Finland showed a huge interest in acquiring Heart Aerospace’s Electric ES-19 electric plane, which is currently under development.
On March 25, 2021, Finnair announced having signed a Letter of Interest with a Swedish aerospace startup Heart Aerospace for its ES-19 electric aircraft. The Helsinki-based airline could acquire up to 20 new electric jets, capable of carrying 19 people on board, which the air carrier could use for its short-haul flights.
Anne Larilahti, Finnair Vice President of Sustainability, believes that in an era where climate change will increasingly dominate the airline‘s agenda, the acquisition of electric aircraft will help them to promote responsible and sustainable aviation.
“We want to be actively involved in developing and implementing new technologies which enable carbon-neutral flying. […] Solving the climate challenge of flying is essential so that the social and economic benefits of aviation can continue,” Larilahti said in the Finnair statement.
Finnair joined the Nordic Electric Aviation initiative in 2019, intending to drive the development of electric flying while focusing on standardizing electric air infrastructure in the Nordic countries. Following the initiative, the airline also seeks to take part in building up business models for regional point-to-point connectivity between Nordic countries as well as developing aircraft technology for Nordic weather conditions.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, Finnair also committed to cut its CO2 emissions by half by the end of 2025 while achieving carbon neutrality in 2045.
According to Heart Aerospace, the ES-19 electric aircraft with an all-electric range of 400km, is expected to be available for the first commercial flights in 2026. Anders Forslund, the CEO of the Swedish startup, said that the company currently “takes the next steps” in building and certifying the ES-19, including fuel efficiency improvements and aircraft weight reduction while combining different modes of transport, emissions trading, and sustainable aviation fuels.
“Finnair’s climate goals are among the most ambitious in the airline industry, and we believe that our electric aircraft can play an important role in creating zero-emissions regional travel. We’ve been working closely together in the Nordic Network for some time. We are very impressed by the dedication and commitment of the Finnair team,” Forslund said.