Agreement to establish Norway as an international test arena for zero and low emission aviation

The establishment will be a key measure for achieving the goal of fossil-free Norwegian aviation in 2050.

Avinor and the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority have  entered into a cooperation agreement on the establishment of Norway as an international test arena for zero- and low-emission aircraft. The establishment will be a key measure for achieving the goal of fossil-free Norwegian aviation in 2050.

What is the agreement?

Avinor will provide infrastructure, airspace and access to energy, and the Civil Aviation Authority will provide regulatory facilitation.

“The test arena will, in principle, cover the entire country. Specific geographical locations for the establishment of test facilities will be decided in dialogue with market participants, based on their needs, as well as assessments of technological maturity. Interested producers and operators must be able to submit an operating concept and respond to predefined qualification criteria. Dialogue with the market has already started,” says Abraham Foss, CEO of Avinor.

The establishment of Norway as an international test arena will support the Norwegian market as a test area and early market for the introduction of zero and low emission aircraft. This can help ensure an early introduction of relevant solutions for the Norwegian market and will be an important step towards development of zero-emission aviation on a larger scale globally. There is currently no equivalent test arena in an operational environment in the world.

“The green transition in aviation can contribute to Norwegian business development, including by creating new business areas in areas where the Norwegian supplier industry possesses valuable expertise, such as battery-electric propulsion systems, charging infrastructure and hydrogen technology. This expertise will also be of great importance to the global aviation industry,” says Foss.

Instruments for achieving the goal of fossil-free aviation in 2050

“The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate accelerated phase-in by reducing barriers to testing and demonstration of zero and low emission aircraft. The test arena will provide the market with a common point of contact in Avinor and the Civil Aviation Authority, as well as a joint process from concept to test and demonstration flight – which includes infrastructure, airspace, energy, and regulatory facilitation – for national and international players who want to test and demonstrate zero and low emission aircraft in Norway,” says Director General of Civil Aviation Lars Kobberstad in the Civil Aviation Authority.

“The extensive network of airports in Norway and close and good cooperation between Avinor as airport operator and responsible for the airspace, and the Civil Aviation Authority as regulator means that Norway is in a unique position to facilitate testing of new technology at an early stage,” says Kobberstad.

A test arena will be an instrument for achieving the goal of fossil-free Norwegian aviation by 2050

“Avinor and the Civil Aviation Authority already cooperate extensively to deliver on common transport and sectoral policy goals in the best possible way. Through this agreement, the two are establishing a closer strategic partnership to further deliver on the government’s ambitions for accelerated phase-in of zero and low emission aircraft and sustainable transformation of aviation,” says Abraham Foss.

The test arena will also mean early and active involvement of the aviation authorities and is highlighted by market participants to be of great importance. This includes cooperation with the EU aviation authority EASA to establish a regulatory framework for testing and demonstration, as well as ensuring that this becomes a good arena for learning and competence building.

The national transport plan gives a powerful signal to the market

“With a prioritised framework of NOK one billion in the national transport plan 2025-2036 to facilitate the transition to zero and low emission aviation, the Government is sending a powerful signal to the market about ambition and direction for development,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Jon-Ivar Nygård.

“This follow-up of the aviation strategy demonstrates the political will over time for the restructuring of aviation. By prioritising increased resources for the Civil Aviation Authority and Avinor, the contracting parties are enabled to be drivers of transition. The establishment of a test arena is a key measure to achieve the government’s goal of accelerating the introduction of new technology in Norwegian aviation as soon as it is mature,” says Nygård.

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