easyJet is set to become the world’s first major airline to use green hydrogen fuelled aircraft on commercial flights.

The carrier is the first major international airline to announce plans to use hydrogen cell technology on passenger flights. easyJet will partner with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CaeS) to develop the technology, which could be in use as early as 2030.

CAeS has been awarded £7.5 million for development and the project has been approved by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The company is currently developing a nine-seater Britten-Normander plane to fly for 60 minutes with 45 minutes reserve fuel time but believes longer flight times will be achieved as the technology matures.

The budget carrier is initially looking to use hydrogen for medium haul flights from its British airports. easyJet currently fly from Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liverpool, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Newquay and Southampton.

Hydrogen propulsion is “front-runner” for short haul airlines

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at easyJet said: “We remain absolutely committed to sustainable flying and towards a future with zero-emission flying. Technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets with Hydrogen propulsion a front-runner for short-haul airlines like us.”

“We look forward to collaborating with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to support bringing this technology to maturity as soon as possible.”

Paul Hutton, Chief Executive of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions said: “We are committed to ensuring the wide-spread adoption of zero-emissions aircraft and for this to succeed the solutions must be commercially viable. easyJet, as one of Europe’s leading airlines is ideally placed to help shape our development.”

easyJet pilots, engineers and maintenance experts will work closely with the Cranfield team.

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