Zero-emission planes ‘could be taking off from Stansted in as little as 10 years’

ZEROe, an Airbus concept aircraft with two hybrid hygdrogen turbofan engines to provide thrust Picture: AIRBUS

ZEROe, an Airbus concept aircraft with two hybrid hygdrogen turbofan engines to provide thrust Picture: AIRBUS - Credit: Archant

Zero-emission planes could be operating out of Stansted within 10 to 15 years, airport bosses predict.

Another of the Airbus ZEROe concept planes Picture: AIRBUS

Another of the Airbus ZEROe concept planes Picture: AIRBUS - Credit: Archant

Stansted’s owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has launched a new competition offering £1.3m worth of free landing fees to the first airline to operate a zero-emission commercial flight from one of its airports.

With zero-emission commercial plane technology already appearing on the horizon, airlines taking part in the competition have been given free rein in their choice of low-emission technology, including electric and hydrogen.

MORE — Jobs blow for Suffolk town as silk factory plunges into administrationMeantime, global manufacturer Airbus has revealed three concept ‘ZEROe’ hydrogen powered commercial aircraft, which could carry up to 200 passengers from the UK across Europe from 2035.

At the same time, the first commercial-grade six-seater aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell was also showcased at Cranfield University in September.

The UK aviation industry’s sustainability group Sustainable Aviation has forecast that the sector can expect to see the first zero emission regional or short-haul flight in around 10 to 15 years’ time.

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But other measures will be needed to help the UK reach its Net Zero 2050 target, including modernising UK airspace, sustainable aviation fuels, smart flight operations and new aircraft technology, said MAG.

The competition comes as the Group publishes its annual CSR Report, which sets out the vital role the airport continues to play in the regional economy and local communities. This includes:

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Stansted boss Steve Griffiths said: “Along with our colleagues across MAG, London Stansted has always been ambitious in our approach to sustainability. Whether it’s our ongoing commitment to avoid sending any waste to landfill, the thousands of hours our teams have spent volunteering in our community or the ground-breaking move to turn our coffee grounds into solid biofuels.

“There will always be more we can do, which is why we are setting our sights on seeing zero-carbon aircraft on our runway in the next 10 to 15 years, along with a commitment to be a net zero-carbon business by 2038.

“While coronavirus will continue to pose significant challenges for many months to come, this does not take away from the vital role we play in our community, our focus on sustainability and our commitment to supporting the region we serve.”

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