A side picture on a plane sitting on a runway

Flying electric aircraft by 2024 a realistic timeframe for short-haul trips, insiders say

It might seem ambitious, but passenger airlines could be using electric aircraft for short trips within two years, an aviation expert has said.

It comes as Rex Airlines announces plans to trial the emerging technology by 2024 on selected regional routes.

“The technology is working. It’s been proven in trial flight, and we can do a lot in two years,” Aviation Projects managing director Keith Tonkin said.

It is not just Rex making the switch to electric.

Across Australia there are several other airlines and aircraft manufacturers working towards a similar goal using a number of different aircraft.

“There’s some companies in Australia that are really heavily involved in the battery charging systems and infrastructure elements of the technology,” Mr Tonkin said.

Some plane operators are already using electric propulsion technology.(ABC News: Elicia Kennedy)

Driven by environmental concerns

Like many other recent technological innovations, the current push towards electric is being driven by environmental concerns.

“There’s a worldwide effort towards reducing carbon emissions from all aircraft operations, which contributes about 2 per cent of the world’s carbon pollution,” Mr Tonkin said.

But there are hurdles to overcome before reaching that future. Foremost is passenger perceptions around safety.


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