Birmingham Airport has announced a partnership with ZeroAvia for the introduction of zero-emission, hydrogen-powered air travel.
The companies have entered into a long-term partnership to make on-airfield hydrogen refuelling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft a reality in the coming years.
ZeroAvia is currently working on developing a zero-emission system capable of flying 20-seat aircraft 300 nautical miles by 2025. This opens up the possibility of green air travel from Birmingham to destinations such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast, Isle of Man and Dublin by the middle of this decade.
In addition, with the aim of making zero-emission travel to Mediterranean holiday destinations a reality, ZeroAvia will get an emissions-free 80-seat aircraft flying up to 1,000 nautical miles by 2027. For Birmingham, the partnership with ZeroAvia will enable it to become a net-zero-carbon airport by 2033, as outlined in its ‘carbon roadmap’ published in 2022. The airport plans to use an area on its airfield for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, testing and operations.
‘Birmingham Airport can be a central hub in a green flight network in the UK, given that any domestic mainland destination will be reachable from the airport using our first systems in 2025,’ said Arnab Chatterjee, VP, Infrastructure, ZeroAvia.
‘Given the commitments of the Jet Zero Strategy on domestic aviation, it is fantastic to engage with forward-thinking airports that want to be early innovators and developers to deliver the vision of bringing truly clean, quiet and pollution-free flights to the UK.’
Simon Richards, Chief Finance & Sustainability Officer at BHX, said: ‘We are thrilled to partner with ZeroAvia on creating solutions to the main challenge of our generation – protecting the future of our planet. We could, quite conceivably, see the first hydrogen-powered domestic passenger flight taking off from BHX in the UK in the next few years. That’s mind-blowing.’
ZeroAvia provides zero-emission technologies including hydrogen-electric engines for aircraft, with a prototype successfully test-flown at its base in Kemble, Gloucestershire, in January. Hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft’s propellers. The only emission is water.