Nice Côte d’Azur Airport plays host to the first 100% electric flight by a Head of State

Published on 15-09-21

Tuesday 14 September 2021 will go down in history as the day when, for the first time, a Head of State - HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco - flew on a 100% electric plane. This stage in the aviation industry’s efforts to fly without emitting CO2 is in line with the Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur Group’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

HSH Albert II of Monaco boarded a Pipistrel Velis, which took off from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport at 9.30 a.m. for a 30-minute flight which gave him the chance to fly over the Principality of Monaco with zero noise and CO2 emissions, before returning to land in Nice.

It’s great to fly without emitting CO2. The development of electric aviation must continue so that tomorrow’s flights can incorporate the use of electric motors, whether battery or fuel cell powered”, he declared as he stepped off the plane flown by Raphaël Domjan, pilot of the solar-powered plane SolarStratos and a seasoned explorer who was the first person to complete a round-the-world trip in a solar powered catamaran, PlanetSolar.

Pispitrel Prince albert II de Monaco

For Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, hosting this 100% electric flight is further endorsement of their ambition to be the laboratory of tomorrow’s airport and a key player in the aviation industry’s pledge to build a low-carbon future.

Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur were pioneers in the field of carbon neutrality. The Group is the first in France to have embarked on its energy transformation, and is currently the most advanced in terms of carbon neutrality. While we focus essentially on our direct emissions, which we have control over, we also do whatever we can to improve our indirect emissions - those released by aircraft on approach, during taxiing and take-off - with the goal of reducing the aviation industry’s environmental footprint even further. This plane, which is no longer a prototype, is perfectly suited to airports such as Cannes and Saint-Tropez, for use by flying clubs, for example. Supporting disruptive technology and anticipating the future needs of aviation for an even stronger energy performance - this is our commitment for our region and for future generations”, explained Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.

In concrete terms, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, of which the Principality of Monaco is a shareholder, has cut its emissions by 83% in 20 years. New measures are in the pipeline, such as the total elimination of gas in all terminals and in its technical division, the development of photovoltaic systems and carbon-free special vehicles, all geared to achieving its objective of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Taking its convictions even further, as of 2034, and thanks to natural carbon sinks financed and maintained in nearby towns and villages, the airport will become an absorber of the CO2 emitted by the planes which land there, thereby going above and beyond the scope of its own activities.