Finnair is taking part in trials to run short-haul flights on electric and solar power.
Interviewed on the FlightDeck programme on Travel.Radio, Finnair CEO 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.”
Finnair has set targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by the end of 2025 and reach carbon neutrality by 2045.
Manner added: “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.”
Manner said the coronavirus pandemic has been a ‘rollercoaster on steroids’ which started for Finnair at the end of January 2020 with the suspension of its 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.”
Manner estimated it would take three years for aviation to recover, but was optimistic there would be a recovery on short-haul traffic ‘on a meaningful level’ from summer