Helicopter giant Bristow unveils greener aviation plans for north east

Aberdeen could soon be at the centre for plans for greener air travel including hybrid and electric helicopter flights.

Scotland’s island communities and the offshore sector could be among those set to benefit from plans for greener aviation.

Helicopter giant Bristow says it hopes to develop hybrid and fully electric aircraft which it claims could make air travel more sustainable.

Bosses met with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to discuss concepts for electric helicopter flights and how Scotland could lead the way for more environmentally-friendly air travel by 2030.

Bristow’s executive vice-president David Stepanek told STV News: “What we are doing here today is meeting with Scottish Members of Parliament to discuss early concepts we have for Scotland to be one of the first areas to operate these advanced technologies.

“[We plan] to expand transportation systems for the general public, to expand logistic opportunities for business and government and to bring perhaps cargo and healthcare to Scotland’s island communities. So we think it’s a really good opportunity.”

Douglas Ross took part in virtual aviation flight at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Bristow is a major operator in the North Sea, taking oil and gas workers to platforms and also provides search and rescue services.

It wants to develop smaller net zero aircraft which it says will reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Stepanek said getting workers to Aberdeen before and after their offshore flights could change in future as new technologies allow them to travel to and from the Granite City in net-zero aircraft.

He explained that the technology could power net-zero leisure and business transportation between Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The firm also claims it could also boost connectivity between the Scottish islands and deliver more energy-efficient ways of carrying out its cargo and logistics operations around the world.

He said: “This is a real revolutionary opportunity and it only happens so often. It’s going to have to be for the lighter more emergency needs, but we think that’s the early test case for us.

“Then we can expand to a regional mobility model, so people could fly from the remote islands and villages into Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.”

Douglas Ross welcomed Bristow’s plans, adding: “This is not going to be an overnight solution, but going forward, the work Bristow and others are doing now is going to reap benefits for years to come for remote communities.”

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