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By Sohail Sawlani

Going Greener: EasyJet Partners with Cranfield Aerospace to Develop Zero-Emission Aircraft

EUROPE, 10 JANUARY 2022 | Popular European budget airline, EasyJet, has decided to partner with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to support the development of zero-emission aircraft.

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions is currently developing a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for an existing 9-seater Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, which is set to fly by 2023.

This is part of the airline's ambition to de-carbonise aviation. EasyJet will support the company in the development of the project, to provide an airline's perspective on the development of the new technology.

EasyJet partners with Cranfield Aerospace to de-carbonise aviation | © EasyJet

More about EasyJet's effort to reduce carbon emissions:

The following is according to a press release on EasyJet's media centre:

Championing the development of a zero-emission aircraft to de-carbonise aviation has long been a focus for easyJet and the airline is working with partners across the industry like Cranfield, as well as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Wright Electric, to accelerate the development of zero-emission technologies and supporting infrastructure. The airline is optimistic that it could begin flying customers on planes powered by hydrogen-combustion, hydrogen-electric or a hybrid of both by the mid to late-2030s.

In November, the airline announced that it has joined Race to Zero, a global UN-backed campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. In joining Race to Zero, the airline is committing to set an interim science-based target for 2035 as well as to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, of which technology for zero-emissions flying will play an important part.

In 2019, it became the first major airline worldwide to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all its flights, and currently remains the only major airline in Europe to do so. This comes at no additional cost to its customers and the airline only supports projects that are certified by either Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard. This is an interim measure while new technologies are developed.

Beyond carbon, easyJet is focusing on reducing plastic- more than 36 million single-use plastic items were eliminated- as well as reducing waste within its wider operations and the supply chain. The airline recently introduced new crew uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles. With 45 bottles in each uniform this has the potential to prevent 2.7 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfill or in oceans over the next five years.

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations, easyJet, said:

EasyJet remains absolutely committed to sustainable flying and a towards a future with zero-emission flying. We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets with hydrogen propulsion a frontrunner for short-haul airlines like easyJet. We are dedicated to working with industry leading partners to support the development of these promising new technologies and we look forward collaborating with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to support bringing this technology to maturity as early as possible.

More about EasyJet:

EasyJet is Europe's leading airline offering a unique and winning combination of the best route network connecting Europe's primary airports, with great value fares and friendly service.

easyJet flies on more of Europe's most popular routes than any other airline and carried more than 96 million passengers in 2019- more than 16 million travelling for business. The airline has over 300 aircraft on nearly 1000 routes to more than 150 airports across 35 countries. Over 300 million Europeans live within one hour's drive of an EasyJet airport.

More about Cranfield Aerospace Solutions:

CAeS is an aerospace market leader in the design and manufacture of new aircraft design concepts, complex modifications to existing aircraft and integration of cutting-edge technologies to meet the most challenging issues facing the aerospace industry today.

CAeS is a long-established aircraft company with a client base that has included Boeing, Airbus, Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, L3 Harris, Thales, and Raytheon (amongst others).

The 9-seat hydrogen fuel cell powered Britten-Norman Islander aircraft will be available from Q1 2025 building on the technology flying demonstrator (Project Fresson) in Q1 2023 which has been supported by the UK Government through an ATI Grant.

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Written by: Sohail Sawlani
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