Airtaxi highways and hydrogen are leading Estonia up to climate neutral aviation by 2030
Around 70 decision-makers gathered in Toompea Castle in the premises of Parliament building to discuss how Estonian aviation could become climate neutral by 2030 through faster deployment of electric flight, hydrogen, digital aviation, and drone technologies. There was a buzz in the air that major stakeholders are getting ready to make a substantial shift and transform from Digital Tiger to becoming Green Leader.
An impressive squad of distinguished speakers included the leader of EU Transport – DG MOVE’s, Henrik Hololei as well as Hydrogen “Person of the Year” Jorgo Chatzimarkakis of Hydrogen Europe amongst others. The high-level seminar, which was opened by her Honorary, Özlem Canel, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Estonia and a Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT, Andres Sutt. “I see a major opportunity in building the ecosystem for the entire mobility space – air, sea, rail and road – that takes us to climate neutrality,” stated Sutt during the panel discussion. Estonia will become a country-wide sandbox and we work together with the industry to create an enabling framework for the innovation with the highest safety standards.
Minister was convinced that technological advances will fundamentally reshape Urban Air Mobility. “Time-distance to Hiiumaa is 20 minutes today with a small 18-seat aircraft. Air taxis using eVTOL-s will cut the time distance throughout Estonia before the end of this decade to far less than an hour. Helsinki and Tallinn airports will be connected by “airtaxi-highway”, making Tallinn directly connected to Asia and North America. And it will all be carbon neutral”, he predicted. Better air connectivity supports R&D cooperation, inbound and outbound tourism, favours exports and investments.
Petrus Postma, Partner from Dutch &Flux B.V indicated that there’s a great chance of realizing huge export potential by starting SAF production. „Estonia has a lot of green carbon, which can be used with green hydrogen to produce SAF,” said Postma. He considered it critical to make large-scale investments into hydrogen generation and transport infrastructure because major players such as Airbus are in search for the best sites to pilot their hydrogen-fuelled planes. “Having this asset in place would eventually make Estonia a far more thriving ecosystem which in turn attracts foreign direct investments,” told Postma.
If we create all necessary infrastructure as a key enabler for climate neutral flying, then perhaps the last missing element will become inclusion of Green Tendering when it comes to public procurement for air transport connections. “We are already harnessing innovation and sustainability in our tendering process. This should also be expanded to fuels in line with the EU Taxonomy allowing new investment in zero-emission infrastructure and mobility only,” added Member of Board, Estonian Hydrogen Association Marek Alliksoo from an impressive squad of panellists.
The seminar was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Environment, Estonian Aviation Cluster, Estonian Hydrogen Association, The Netherlands Embassy in Tallinn and Estonian Parliament.