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October 18th, 2019 at 12:09 am

The CEO of KLM predicts that the first commercial electric airplane will arrive in 15 to 20 years



  • “I think a realistic projection for an electric plane is somewhere between 15 and 20 years.” Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Today, the sight of an electric vehicle is pretty unremarkable, which shows how much the sector has progressed.

CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Pieter Elbers thinks we should see electric airplanes on commercial flights within the next 15 to 20 years.

When the first electric cars came on the scene, people scoffed. Today, no one would bat an eyelid at the sight of an electric vehicle.


Business Insider Polska asked Pieter Elbers, CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, when we might see electric planes used commercially.

“It’s clear to see how far this sector has progressed,” Elbers said, speaking to journalists on the 100th anniversary of the founding of KLM. “I don’t believe, however, that the first electric planes will appear within the next five or six years.”

British airline EasyJet announced in 2017 that it plans to use electric airplanes that it will develop in partnership with Wright Electric, Reuters reported. Last year, the airline was reportedly eyeing its Amsterdam-London route as one of the first to use the planes, with a target date of 2027.

For Elbers, that might be ambitious.


Pieter Elbers, CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. KLM

“I think a realistic projection for an electric plane is somewhere between 15 and 20 years,” Elbers said, echoing the comments made earlier this year by former Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

On that timeline, the date for the arrival of commercial electric airplanes would be between the years 2034 and 2039.

“However, I appreciate the ambitious plans,” he said. “I think we should all make much greater efforts to broaden our knowledge and develop in this area.”




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