Wednesday, 22 September 2021

make zero-emission flights a reality easyJet urges industry and government

Leading UK budget airline easyJet is urging industry and government to work more closely together to deliver on the zero-emission technology needed to transform the airline industry over the coming decade and beyond.

Speaking from Toulouse at the Airbus Summit earlier this week, easyJet's bombastic CEO Johan Lundgren, said the vision of zero-emission flying can only be brought ever-closer through coordinated action which should focus efforts on some key areas.

Firstly, governments need to support the development of hydrogen supply and infrastructure at airports alongside investments into renewable energy to support the creation of green hydrogen for aviation.

Secondly, governments will not only need to provide financial incentives to support the development and scaling up of zero-emission technology but also should be ploughing funds raised through aviation taxes into the R&D that is required.

Thirdly, airlines choosing to become early adopters of the new technology should be incentivised through reduced airspace and airport charges and also provided with tax exemptions if they are operating zero-emission aircraft and be prioritised for airport slots. 

Lastly, easyJet has identified the priority need to make sure the right framework is in place to ensure progress and support for widespread adoption of zero-emission aircraft where these are feasible, such as on short-haul networks. easyJet will be using SAF in the interim, but the company believes the most sustainable long-term solution for a short-haul carrier are zero-emission aircraft.

easyJet has worked in partnership with Airbus since 2019 to support the development of a hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035. A crucial part of easyJet’s role has been to work with the manufacturer to provide a commercial airline’s perspective in the development of new zero-emission propulsion technologies for passenger planes.

Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, said:  "Pioneering sustainable aerospace is a collective undertaking. It's great to see so many partners and customers join us this week for our first-ever Airbus Summit, as we explore the innovations transforming our industry and federate partners across the sector to make sustainable aerospace a reality.

I can only welcome easyJet's call for a strong collaboration between industry and governments as we establish our collective path to net-zero. As an early partner on our journey towards hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft, easyJet is playing an active role in shaping the future of flight and we are committed to our continued partnership in this field."

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said:  "This is an exciting time for the industry where true zero-emission flight is within reach. Hydrogen and electric powered aircraft are already flying, with companies like Airbus committed to scaling the technology for commercial flights and aiming for entry into service in the 2030s. So, we all need to play our role to ensure that the infrastructure is ready for these exciting new aircraft.

But the industry can’t do it alone. We need governments to help the industry meet ambitious emissions reduction goals by championing financial and regulatory support for green technologies and investments in zero-emission aircraft. We stand ready to work with our partners and the wider industry to help deliver a more sustainable future for the industry."

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