UK firm announces first commercial hydrogen flight between London and Rotterdam expected in 2024

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Britain has scored a major victory in aviation with UK-based company ZeroAvia announcing the first commercial flight of its kind using entirely hydrogen-powered aircraft.

The company say it is on track to to launch zero emission commercial passenger flights between Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) and London with a 19-seater aircraft in 2024.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and the beauty lies in the fact that the only waste produced by hydrogen fuel cells is harmless water vapour.

The aircraft, currently under development by ZeroAvia, will fly entirely on hydrogen. ZeroAvia, Royal Schiphol Group, Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport Foundation and the airport itself have announced a partnership to realise this ambition.

The deal sets a solid timeline for the launch of the first zero emission commercial passenger flights between the UK and the Netherlands, and potentially the first international commercial operation in the world. ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group are in advanced partnership talks with airlines to agree on an operator for the planned route.

Through the partnership to deliver this commercial route, ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group will collaborate on testing and demonstrating hydrogen supply chain refuelling operations and integration with airport operations. The two companies will also focus on ensuring the pathway for commercially adopting hydrogen-electric aviation, including establishing the right regulatory framework and understanding industry and public appetite for zero emissions flight powered by hydrogen.

In recent years ZeroAvia has focused its R&D on developing a hydrogen-electric powertrain – using hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors – as a viable way to tackle aviation’s climate change impacts at scale. With the hydrogen-electric system ZeroAvia is pioneering, the only emission is water vapour at manageable temperatures, allowing for sustainable flights.

Hydrogen-electric propulsion will have the additional benefit of lower operating costs, making routes more attractive to airlines and airports and passengers.

Sergey Kiselev, Head of Europe, at ZeroAvia, said:

​“This deal means that, in just three years’ time, you should be able to board a flight and make the hour journey between the UK and the Netherlands without worrying about the impact on the climate. Working with partners like Royal Schiphol Group, we are making true zero emission flights a reality for passengers in the first half of this decade.”

Ron Louwerse, CEO, of Rotterdam the Hague Airport, said:

“Boarding a zero emission flight from Rotterdam to London is only the beginning of green aviation, and that will only be made possible by pioneering and promoting innovation in the sector.”

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