Icelandair: First flag carrier to eye domestic zero-emission operations


Icelandair is planning to be the first national flag carrier airline to achieve zero-emission domestic operations by the end of the decade. 

CEO, Bogi Nils Bogason said the airline will use Iceland’s easily accessible carbon-free electricity to fuel the aircraft. Operating three domestic routes from its home base at Reykjavík airport — to Egilsstadir, Akureyri and Ísafjördu — Icelandair’s longest flight, to Egilsstadir, is an hour flight time.

“We’re focusing on having our domestic operation carbon-free by the end of this decade. We firmly believe it’s realistic that we will be operating a carbon-emission-free aircraft in our domestic operations before the end of this decade,” said Bogason. “Our plans are for that, whether it will be hydrogen-powered or a partly electric-powered aircraft.”

Icelandair has agreements in place Sweden’s Heart Aerospace for its 30-seat ES-30 aircraft and Universal Hydrogen, which is retrofitting the airline’s 37-seat Dash-8 turboprops with hydrogen propulsion systems.

When the deal was announced in July, 2021, Universal Hydrogen said: “Iceland is in a unique position, given their abundant supply of renewable energy with which to produce green hydrogen to complete this transformation ahead of others.”

Over the past 500 years Iceland’s volcanoes have been responsible for one third of global lava eruptions. It is this volcanic activity that produces the country’s abundant levels of geothermal energy.

Bogason said: “We believe it’s realistic that this will happen within a few years and we’ll be the first airline, or the first country, to have carbon-free domestic aviation.”