IATA and Solar Impulse team up
The International Air Transport Association IATA has become an Institutional Partner of Solar Impulse, the solar-powered aeroplane currently in development.
The prototype plane is being designed to fly around the world day and night with no fuel and zero emissions. The main aim is to demonstrate that solar energy is a feasible alternative to non-renewable fuel. The first test flights are planned for early 2009, carrying one person.
The agreement was signed by Bertrand Piccard, President of Solar Impulse and Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA. The role of IATA is to provide support and assist the plane's journey around the world by obtaining air traffic control clearance.
Giovanni 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.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, CEO, will fly around the world with five stop-overs in the second and final plane in 2011.
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, explained Piccard.
Piccard said that Solar Impulse needed another $30 million to fund the second plane and was looking for other partners, according to Associated Press. The Swiss balloonist and psychiatrist founded the Solar Impulse project in 2003 and co-piloted the first hot-air balloon to circumnavigate the globe nonstop and non-refuelled in 1999 with Briton Brian Jones.
Written by: Maxine Clarke