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Low Carbon Flight Test Centre For Kirkwall Airport

Kirkwall airport is to become a test centre for different types of low carbon aircraft.

Ampaire’s Electric EEL aircraft (Credit Ampaire)

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) £3.7 million project aims to develop a sustainable aviation programme for short flight travel – the SATE (Sustainable Aviation Test Environment) project.

Highland and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) is a public corporation wholly owned by Scottish Government Ministers.

Loganair DHC6 aircraft (Credit Loganair)

HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon, said:

“Project SATE will place the Highlands and Islands at the vanguard of the adoption of next-generation aircraft and spearhead the aviation industry’s response to climate change.

“The project will identify the necessary supply chain and people skills to support the development and testing of the new technologies, with the aim of developing a Highlands and Islands sustainable aviation sector, stimulating inward investment and local supply chain opportunities.

“It will also measure local community appetite for the new aircraft technology, especially on lifeline regional routes, and the potential impact on the regional economy from the adoption of these new technologies.”

The project is part funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and includes : Ampaire, ZeroAvia, Loganair, Windracers and Flarebright.

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Denchi Group, Orkney-based Cloudnet, Air Service Training, University of the Highlands and Islands, The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and Orkney Islands Council complete the partnership.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson, said:

“This is a very exciting project and it’s fantastic to see Highland and Islands Airports Ltd take the lead to create the UK’s first low-carbon aviation test environment. 

“This test centre has the potential to put Scotland at the forefront of the transition to low carbon aviation and is an important step towards delivering our commitment to decarbonise scheduled passenger flights within Scotland by 2040. “

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, said:

“At this challenging time for the international aviation industry, it is a great testament to the UK’s drive and ambition that we had such a strong response to the first funded Future Flight competition.

“The breadth, quality and creativity of the bids has been exceptional and the economic and social benefits offered are significant.”

SATE Sustainable Aviation Test Environment at Kirkwall Airport (Image courtesy of SATE)

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