Published on Monday, February 18, 2008

Fuel-free flights ready for take-off

SINGAPORE - IATA has become a partner of Solar Impulse - the solar airplane that will fly around the world with no fuel and zero emission.

The agreement, signed by Bertrand Piccard, president of Solar Impulse and Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA, establishes a framework for cooperation between the two organisations.

IATA will provide assistance to ensure the smooth passage of the solar plane around the world.

Bisignani said, "Solar Impulse and IATA share a vision. We are natural partners. We are both looking towards a zero carbon emission future for air travel.

"Solar power is one of the building blocks that will make this happen.

"The Solar Impulse initiative is proof that with vision anything is possible - even carbon free flight."

Piccard said, "Our future freedom relies on us converting to renewable energy sources as soon as possible.

"In this sense, the vision set by IATA to eliminate all polluting emissions within the next 50 years is admirable."

Solar Impulse is building the first prototype airplane that aims to demonstrate the feasibility of flying day and night, only propelled by solar energy.

The first test flights will take place in early 2009.

In 2011, Piccard and Andr-© Borschberg, CEO, will fly around the world with five stopovers.

IATA will help make this dream a reality by providing support including assistance in obtaining air traffic control clearance.

"In one year"s time, Solar Impulse will fly without any polluting emissions, but will carry only one person.

"To achieve IATA"s vision there are a little more than 40 years left to find a way to increase the payload to a few hundred passengers," said Piccard.

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