King Carl XVI Gustaf visited Skellefteå on Tuesday together with a delegation from the King. The Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), including industrialist Marcus Wallenberg, who is president of the academy.
King Carl XVI Gustaf told Norran:
– We are traveling around the northern part of Sweden, and we are here in Skellefteå to learn about the ongoing development.
– This is a significant investment in the region, and we are addressing how to proceed and discussing the future. We hope it will be a fantastic success.
The king was welcomed by Robert Lindberg, CEO of Skellefteå Airport, who also gave a welcome speech. He said that Skellefteå is probably the third-largest airport in the world in terms of the number of take-offs and landings of electric aircraft.
- It's very exciting that the future is here much sooner than we thought it would be. Initiatives like this make waves, said Lindberg.
Johan Norberg, school manager at Green Flight Academy, piloted one of their electric aircraft for a demonstration flight. Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, rector at Luleå University of Technology, was a passenger and described it as a wonderful experience.
She tells Norran that today's visit to Skellefteå is very important, not only for the region, but for all of Sweden, as IVA has chosen to come here.
– The issue of competence is really central to getting the expertise we need and for these facilities to truly be as successful as they can be, she emphasizes.
According to Johan Norberg, Skellefteå has a unique aviation education.
– We want to show the delegation our operations and the efforts being made in sustainable commercial aviation, he says.
What does the king's visit mean to you?
– It has important symbolic value, and the king brings with him several influential contacts in the Swedish business community.
Students from the Green Flight Academy were also present, and Josephine Juhr from Germany showed King Carl XVI Gustaf one of the electric aircraft.
– It was a pleasant chat. He asked about the speed, how far you can fly, and what the difference is in flying an electric aircraft, compared to a conventional one, she says.
The group was then bussed to the campus, where the Skellefteå University Alliance (SUA) held a seminar on education and skills needs, followed by coffee and mingling before the king and his entourage moved on to Northvolt.
What did the king take away from the day?
– It is clear that we are here to understand how we can proceed from an industry perspective, but the community also needs to be involved in trying to keep up with the development. Development is happening incredibly fast, King Carl XVI Gustaf tells Norran.
– There is a need for a lot of work at all levels, not just for industry. When the workers arrive, there must also be schools and teachers and everything else that goes to make up a society.
How important is this industrial boom for Sweden?
– All development, all economic development, is important. Cooperation between industry and universities - that is what is important. Trying to have cooperation, an open dialog about how to solve problems.
– And there must be more researchers and students, so that you can give something back to society.