Finnair is involved in trials for powering short-haul flights by electric and solar power in future.
Interviewed on the FlightDeck programme on Travel.Radio, the airline’s chief executive Topi Manner said: “We are involved in the early-phase testing of electric and solar power in the Nordic region, especially flights with a range of one to one-and-a-half hours.
“I will see flights operated this way in my lifetime, in 20 years or so it will be possible.”
The Finnish carrier aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by the end of 2025 and reach carbon neutrality by 2045.
Manner told the show’s presenter Paul Charles: “Addressing climate change is the right thing to do. Customers will choose their airline based on its sustainability credentials and we want to be the front-runner. We think the targets are realistic and achievable.”
Commenting on the coronavirus crisis, Manner added: “It has been an emotional rollercoaster on steroids. The pandemic started for us at the end of January 2020 with the suspension of our Finland to China flights.
“During the course of two weeks, we were ramping down all of our flights, with just 2% of our total capacity being flown in April and May.
“Seeing something like that unfold in front of you is something that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives.”
However, he predicted the airline will be “much stronger” as it emerges from the pandemic.
“Various airlines are sharpening their strategies, refocusing their networks, streamlining their structures, changing distribution and moving further into digital sales and digitalisation. It is a complete revamp of the business,” he said.
“We are estimating it will take three years for aviation to recover. It will be a long and winding road back to 2019 passenger levels.
“Recovery will take place in full and aviation will grow again. I am optimistic there will be recovery, especially on short-haul traffic on a meaningful level from summer onwards.”
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