Electric Or Grounded | Widerøe problem

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.


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I’m surprised the ATR isn’t a suitable replacement.

Well ATR have worked on something, but it might not be good enough with the Norwegian government due to emissions.

Although there is no direct replacement for the aging Dash 8s, ATR did come up with an interesting solution to this problem. The ATR 42 has been reengineered to allow it to land on runways as short as 800m. Called the ATR 42-600S, this short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft will seat up to 42 passengers, which is largely in line with the capacity of Widerøe’s Dash 8s it would replace.

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The combination contaminated short runways (water, snow, ice) and payload was not good enough with the ATR according to Wideroe.

The government has decided to allow single engine turbo props with pressurized cabin on some routes. One candidate is the Pilatus PC12.

The goal for Avinor and Wideroe is to electrify Norwegian all domestic flights by 2040.

I think going electric now is very ambitious. The crj-200 could work maybe or they have to stretch out the dash 8.

The CRJ cannot land on such short runways as is required. I think that De Havilland Canada should modernize the Dash 8-300 or -200 because I think some of the airlines that operate those aircraft need replacements.

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