A consortium of Dutch companies plans to develop a hydrogen-powered medium-sized passenger aircraft that will fly between the Netherlands and London within six years.

The aircraft, designed to operate over distances of up to 750 kilometres, has the backing of the Dutch government, which has invested 100 million euros in the project.

Commercially profitable flights

In total, 17 companies and organisations are participating in the initiative, including Fokker and TU Delft.

The consortium says it will be able to make commercially profitable flights between cities such as Rotterdam and London using aircraft with capacity for 40-80 passengers.

A Hydrogen Aircraft Powertrain and Storage System (HAPSS) will see a hydrogen tank fitted into the tail of the aircraft. The hydrogen will be transported to the engine and converted into electricity, which is then used to drive the propellers.

Higher prices

Michel van Ireland, involved with the project, said there were currently around 1,500 aircraft that were suitable for the technology.

He added that the new aircraft would be useful for short-haul flights in the Caribbean and Scandinavia where there are islands that need connecting.

The consortium said ticket prices were likely to rise by up to 10 per cent, but suggested that passengers would be willing to pay the higher fees if they knew they were helping to improve aviation sustainability.

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