Norway’s regional airline Widerøe has a challenging problem on its hands. Its fleet of turboprops are in desperate need of replacement, but no direct replacement exists. To make things worse the Norwegian government is looking to them to make a step-change in reducing carbon emissions with its replacement.
Since 2000, Widerøe has only operated Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft. However in 2017, it announced its intention to order as many as 15 new Embraer E2 aircraft. Widerøe currently has 4 E2 aircraft in service.
The Dash 8-100, -200 and -300 have a unique ability to land on the very short runways that are common in remote areas of Norway. These aircraft are all aging, but as Bombardier has stopped building them, there is no direct replacement for them.
This is a problem as, the average age of Widerøe’s fleet of 22 Dash 8-100s is 25.5 years. However, some in the fleet are rapidly approaching 30 years of age. If Widerøe’s caan’t find a solution soon, it could mean the end of the airline.
I personally think this would be a great market to test electric planes, as they don’t have to have a huge range and carry a lot of people. Widerøe have been working with Rolls Royce in creating an electric plane. There is still a long way until we’ll see electric planes, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of this problem.