Airbus, Air Liquide and VINCI Airports have announced a partnership to promote the use of hydrogen at airports and build the European airport network to accommodate the hydrogen aircraft of the future.

Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport in France is to host the first installations as early as 2023. The airport has been chosen as the testbed for the partnership as VINCI Airport’s centre for innovation. The partnership reflects the three groups’ shared ambition to combine their respective expertise to support the decarbonisation of air travel.

Last year, Airbus revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. The concepts all use hydrogen power and represent different approaches to achieving zero-emission flight, supporting the company’s ambition to lead the way in the decarbonisation of the entire aviation industry.

The implementation of the project includes several phases:

  • From 2023: deployment of a hydrogen gas distribution station at Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport. The station will supply both the airport’s ground vehicles (buses, trucks, handling equipment, etc.) and those of its partners, as well as the heavy goods vehicles that drive around the airport. This first phase is essential to test the airport’s facilities and dynamics as a “hydrogen hub” in its area of reach.
    Between 2023 and 2030: deployment of liquid hydrogen infrastructures that will allow hydrogen to be provisioned into the tanks of future aircraft.
    Beyond 2030: deployment of the hydrogen infrastructure from production to mass distribution of liquid hydrogen at the airport.
    By 2030: the three partners will study the possibility of equipping VINCI Airports’ European airport network with the hydrogen production, storage and supply facilities needed for use on the ground and on board aircraft.

The partnership illustrates the partners’ shared commitment to decarbonising air travel and is a major step forward for the development of hydrogen across the airport ecosystem. The partnership leverages Airbus experience of commercial aircraft production, Air Liquide’s expertise in mastering the entire hydrogen value chain (production, liquefaction, storage and distribution) and the global reach of VINCI Airports, which operates 45 airports in 12 countries to create the network.

Airbus is hosting a livestreamed event, the Airbus Summit, to be held on September 21-22 2021, which will bring together aerospace experts, operators, thinkers, journalists, influencers, and policy makers worldwide. The industry-wide conversation will explore the innovations and cross-sector partnerships that will change the way we travel forever.

The theme of the Summit is sustainability and decarbonisation; and more specifically how Airbus and the industry will come together to implement the necessary mix of solutions for a credible journey towards net zero.

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