Wednesday, 8 December 2021

easyJet welcomes FlyZero’s concept for a midsize aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen, enabling zero-carbon emission flights of the future

easyJet has welcomed FlyZero’s announcement that it has developed a concept for a midsize aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen, enabling zero-carbon emission flights. This is another vote of confidence for hydrogen technology.

The concept aircraft would be capable of flying 279 passengers halfway around the world without a stop (i.e. from London to San Francisco), or to anywhere in the world with just one stop to refuel (i.e. from London to Auckland).

The midsize aircraft would store hydrogen at minus 250 degrees Celsius (minus 418 degrees Fahrenheit) in cryogenic fuel tanks at the rear of the plane and in two smaller “cheek” tanks along the forward fuselage to keep the aircraft balanced.

easyJet sees hydrogen powered aircraft playing an important role in its decarbonisation pathway. The airline recently joined the UN-backed “Race to Zero”, committing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and setting an interim science-based target for 2035.

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at easyJet, said:  “FlyZero’s concept aircraft demonstrates the huge potential of green liquid hydrogen for aviation, including larger gauge aircraft, and I’m very excited to see where we go from here. easyJet is closely involved in the work of the Aerospace Technology Institute and its FlyZero project and we look forward to continuous collaboration to make zero-carbon emission flights a reality as soon as possible.” 

The FlyZero project is led by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and funded by the UK government. The project supports the aims of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between industry and government with the aim of delivering zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation. 

easyJet is closely involved in these initiatives with representation in all three entities:

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s CEO, sits on the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council
David Morgan, easyJet’s Director of Flight Operations, is on the Advisory Board of the ATI
easyJet Pilot Debbie Thomas, a First Officer based in Bristol, has been seconded to the FlyZero project to use her engineering background and flying experience, as part of the 100 aviation and aerospace experts the project has brought together to design zero-carbon aircraft and research zero-carbon solutions from the airspace, airports and aircraft perspective.
 Making flying more sustainable is something easyJet has long prioritised – from being the only major European carrier carbon offsetting on behalf of all its customers, while proactively working alongside industry leaders, such as Airbus, to championing zero-emission technologies for passenger planes of the future. 

The airline operates Airbus NEO aircraft, which are 15 per cent more fuel-efficient than the planes they replace, and they continue to join easyJet’s fleet. The airline is also constantly striving in its everyday operations to reduce fuel consumption, with single-engine taxiing on departure and arrival and the use of advanced weather information to improve navigation performance. 

Beyond carbon, easyJet is focusing on reducing plastic – more than 36 million single-use plastic items were eliminated to-date – as well as reducing waste within its wider operations and the supply chain. For instance, the airline also recently introduced new crew uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles. Forty-five bottles go into each outfit – with the potential to prevent 2.7 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfill or in oceans over the next five years. The garments are fashioned from a high-tech material that is made using renewable energy sources and has a 75 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional polyester.

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