Air Greenland is investing in emission-free eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace to help passengers travel by air with minimal impact to the environment. Jenny Southan reports
Air Greenland, the flag-carrier for Greenland, will be bringing zero-emissions travel to the region to help tackle the issue of climate change thanks to a partnership with international aircraft leasing company Avolon.
The idea is that Air Greenland will commit to purchasing or leasing a fleet of VX4 eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) aircraft, manufactured by Vertical Aerospace, from Avolon. (Virgin Atlantic is also planning to launch a fleet of flying taxis from vertical Aerospace.)
Upon its introduction, the VX4 will be the most advanced and the safest eVTOL in the market and will be built to EASA safety certification standards – the most stringent global requirements and at the same level as commercial aircraft.
The VX4 will be near silent when in flight and will have zero operating emissions, transporting four passengers and one pilot distances of over 100 miles at up to 200 miles per hour.
According to a press statement, Avolon and Air Greenland will partner to form a Working Group to assess the opportunity to commercialise zero-emissions air travel to the region. It will also collaborate to identify local infrastructure and certification requirements for eVTOL aircraft.
The size of Air Greenland’s VX4 fleet will be defined at the conclusion of the Working Group’s assessment of the scale of the market opportunity.
Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon, says: “Since our initial order, we have seen airlines all over the world make a commitment to the zero emissions travel by selecting the VX4 aircraft as the first step in their decarbonisation journey.
“The announcement with Air Greenland means we are taking zero-emissions travel to where climate change is having its most pronounced impact. We look forward to working with Air Greenland to bringing the zero-operating emission VX4 aircraft to where it matters the most.”
Jacob Nitter Sørensen, CEO of Air Greenland, says: “The announcement marks the start of our long-term sustainability journey, and we are excited about bringing zero emissions travel to our region.
“In Greenland, we see the effects of climate change every day and, as a company, we want to be at the forefront of the climate revolution.
“The VX4 aircraft will have many uses for Air Greenland and, through our partnership with Avolon, we look forward to welcoming our first travellers onboard in the near future – flying our guests to Ilimanaq Lodge to show the visible impacts that climate change is having on our country and planet.”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical Aerospace, says: “We are delighted that Air Greenland has chosen the VX4 to bring zero emissions air travel to the region. This partnership is a significant first step in introducing sustainable air mobility to Greenland.”
In June 2021, Avolon ordered 500 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical, valued at US$2 billion. Since announcing that order, Avolon placed 250 VX4 aircraft with Gol and Grupo Comporte in Brazil, up to 100 aircraft with Japan Airlines in Japan, and a minimum of 100 aircraft with AirAsia.
Avolon has now placed up to 90 per cent of its initial orderbook, underlining the demand for VX4 aircraft from the world’s leading airlines.
Air Greenland is owned by the Greenland Government and has flight operations to total of 62 destinations internally in Greenland and to and from Denmark and Iceland.
At the moment its fleet consists of fixed-wing aircraft Airbus A330-200 and 7 Dash 8-200 to transport passengers and cargo, a King Air for medical evacuations and 17 helicopters of various types, which meets the need for passenger transport, mineral exploration, heliskiing, sightseeing, scientific expeditions, Search and Rescue, and in the maintenance of vital telecommunications infrastructure.
As a key player in aviation on the world’s largest island, Air Greenland aims to facilitate Greenland’s infrastructure in a sustainable way by investing in the green conversion.
To support a sustainable development in the tourism industry and the economic growth to the benefit of the country, Air Greenland supports the development of sustainable destinations and goals in the subsidiaries Hotel Arctic and Greenland Travel.