Historical 1st electric flight in the greater Caribbean region; Official opening of DCCA’s “A Flight to the Future” event

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November 6, 2022, marked a historic day for aviation in the greater Caribbean region with the 1st electric flight effectuated in the Dutch Caribbean with the Pipistrel Velis Electro of Royal NLR.

With this flight the 1st International Air Transportation Event “A Flight to the Future”, organized by Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (AAA) on behalf of the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports (DCCA) was officially opened. The Minister of Transport, Integrity, Nature and Senior Affairs Ursell Arends had the honor of being the first passenger on this electric flight. “This is history in the making! Being the first ever passenger on board an electric flight in the greater Caribbean region has been both an honor and a thrill. Sustainability and innovation are important parts of the Government’s vision for the future and having these electric flights performed within the region is a further testament to our commitment to explore, develop, and implement sustainable efforts.”

In the presence of various invited dignitaries from all six Dutch Caribbean Islands, special guests from The Netherlands, U.S., Canada, Latin America, Central America, Europe and Dutch Caribbean airport executives, the flight with the Pipistrel Velis Electro took off at 17:30PM and lasted a total of 15 minutes. The Pipistrel Velis Electro arrived in Aruba last week and was assembled on the Aruba Airport premises to execute the electric flights during the week of the DCCA 1st International Air Transportation Event – A Flight to the Future.

The Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports (DCCA) is a cooperation between all 6 Caribbean Airports within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. DCCA aims to present future focused alternative air transportation options to improve interisland connectivity between the Dutch Caribbean Islands by making it more affordable, more efficient, and more sustainable and is organizing the 1st International Sustainable Air Transportation Event called “A Flight to the Future” in Aruba from November 7 through 11, 2022. “Health care, labor markets, social networks and the economies can all benefit from more affordable and more sustainable air connections”, said Chair Joost Meijs on behalf of the DCCA.

Royal NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre, will be participating in the event. For this occasion, NLR’s electric research aircraft the Pipistrel Velis Electro will perform several e-flights. In fact, today’s flight was the first one with an electric airplane in the greater Caribbean region. The Pipistrel Velis Electro is a 2-seater propeller training aircraft that is fully powered by an electromotor and can fly for a duration of 30 minutes, considering a 30-minute reserve time. The electric research aircraft of NLR will also be demonstrated in the hangar at the airport to the local community of the island. NLR believes it is crucial to involve everyone in the journey to a sustainable future of aviation.

During the week, speeches and presentations will be given, panel discussions will be held, masterclasses will be provided, and daily electric flight demonstrations will be performed with the Pipistrel Velis Electro at Aruba Airport. The knowledge shared during that week of the event will be different each day. Key themes will be: Discover the Undiscovered focusing on Sustainable Aviation, Built for Experience focusing on Sustainable Tourism, Pushing the limits: changing the Future focusing on Sustainable Airport Operations, Reality Check focusing on current Research and Investments, and Connecting Generations which will give the local community the chance to experience the Pipistrel Velis Electro up close.

Free virtual registrations are still available for the event which will be live streamed via www.dccaairports.com/live on November 7 through November 11, 2022. For more information on the event and virtual registration, please visit our DCCA website www.dccaairports.com .