Diamond Aircraft, Lufthansa to Develop Electric Training Aircraft

Companies will use electric-powered trainers to help meet sustainability goals.

Diamond’s electric powered eDA40 will undergo testing with Lufthansa’s training fleet in Switzerland. [Courtesy: Diamond Aircraft]

Diamond Aircraft Austria said it signed a letter of intent with Lufthansa Aviation Training to explore the possibilities of increased sustainability in flight training. The agreement includes testing Diamond’s electric-powered eDA40 at Lufthansa’s training base, with Lufthansa becoming the launch customer for the electric aircraft.

The companies said Lufthansa plans to purchase an eDA40 to supplement its

current fleet of DA40 NG aircraft, and the partners also plan to look into using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Diamond said its fleet of efficient piston aircraft that run on lead-free jet fuel have long reflected its environmentally friendly strategy, and that with the eDA40, “the company is taking its sustainable approach one step further.” Lufthansa said its goals, including becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 and cutting its net carbon emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2019, align well with Diamond’s plans.

"We have enjoyed a long and trusting partnership with Diamond Aircraft," said Matthias Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa Aviation Training. "Diamond Aircraft's fuel-efficient DA40 and DA42 models are already operating very successfully at our flight schools in Rostock (Germany) and Grenchen (Switzerland). I am very pleased that with the signing of the LOI for the all-electric eDA40, we are now jointly opening a groundbreaking chapter in the topic of sustainability.”

The companies said the eDA40 will be tested at Lufthansa’s base in Grenchen, and results will be used to develop the aircraft further for flight training and possible use in a mixed training fleet with conventional piston-powered DA40 NGs. Lufthansa said that under its plan to be the eDA40 launch customer in the European Union, it expects to buy a number of the aircraft for its flight training program and to comply with Lufthansa Group’s sustainability targets. 

“We are excited and honored to announce renowned Lufthansa Aviation Training as our launch customer for our all-electric eDA40 and as a strong partner for an important and trendsetting collaboration for a better tomorrow,” said Liqun (Frank) Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Austria. “With our agreement we expect a huge step towards a greener aviation future and to develop the most advanced electric training aircraft in the world.”

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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