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26 Jun, 2024

Pioneering CO2-neutral aviation: DronePort facilitates electric air mobility

Brustem Airport, now known as DronePort, is making significant strides towards becoming a CO2-neutral airport, setting a pioneering example in the aviation industry. Recognizing the environmental impact of short flights and private jets, DronePort is committed to fostering sustainable aviation practices, with a particular focus on electric flight technology.

The shift to electric aviation

Electric aircraft represent a crucial step towards a more sustainable future in aviation. ASL Group from Hasselt has already taken a lead in this domain by deploying 100 percent electric training aircraft for pilot instruction. This initiative, while groundbreaking, is just the beginning. The next phase, starting this summer, involves offering the public the opportunity to experience electric flight firsthand through pilot project Electrifly, which provides introductory flights between regional airports in a two-seater Pipistrel Velis Electro aircraft.

These flights offer a glimpse into the future of aviation. Passengers can book a quiet, emissions-free flight through the Electrifly app, sharing the cost of a round trip with the pilot for a fee of 160 euros. This initiative demonstrates the feasibility and public interest in electric aviation, paving the way for future developments.

DronePort’s commitment to emission-free operations

DronePort’s ambition extends beyond electric training flights. “We are in talks with ASL Group and are committed to participating in projects related to electric aviation,” says Ward Decaluwe, director of DronePort. The former military airport now serves as a 30-hectare industrial park for innovative aviation companies, emphasizing the promotion of electric flight technology and sustainable aviation practices.

Pipistrel Velis Electro aircraft landed at DronePort, Sint-Truiden

Recently, DronePort became the first Belgian airport to join the Electric Flying Connection (EFC), a Dutch initiative with over 50 members dedicated to sustainable air transport. This membership underscores DronePort’s commitment to leading the charge in electric aviation.

Innovations and future prospects

On DronePort’s premises, Cosmic Aerospace, a Belgian-American company, is working on developing a fully electric aircraft capable of carrying up to 25 passengers. Testing is already underway, with a vision of integrating air taxis into the future of green mobility. “We truly believe that within five to ten years, we can organize green mobility through the air,” Decaluwe asserts. This summer, DronePort is taking tangible steps towards sustainability by installing solar panels on its large hangar. Additionally, DronePort currently offers free charging for electric manned aircraft, encouraging the adoption and use of electric aviation.

From left to right: Christopher Chahine (Cosmic Aerospace) and Sander Wilmots (ASL Group)

While the limited range of electric aircraft remains a challenge, current battery technologies are sufficient for regional airport operations. For Limburg, with its congested road network, this advancement marks a significant step forward.

Setting the stage for sustainable air mobility

DronePort’s commitment to CO2-neutral flight operations positions it as a leader in the transition towards sustainable aviation. By promoting electric flight technology, offering free charging for electric aircraft, and participating in initiatives like the Electric Flying Connection, DronePort is not only contributing to reducing aviation’s carbon footprint but also setting the stage for a future where green air mobility is a reality. The ongoing projects and future plans at DronePort demonstrate a clear and promising pathway towards emission-free aviation.

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Pioneering the future of aviation: DronePort and the ‘Indiana – Flanders’ MoU

Pioneering the future of aviation: DronePort and the ‘Indiana – Flanders’ MoU

In 2023, the MoU ‘Indiana – Flanders’ was signed at the Governor’s office in Indianapolis, setting the stage for regional collaboration and innovation. Recently, Governor Eric Holcomb visited Flanders to meet with Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon and key leaders in autonomous driving and AI, hosted by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). Our CEO, Ward Decaluwe, presented DronePort’s mission and vision, showcasing the potential of our business park for local and international companies eager to grow in these expanding markets.

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