The aviation sector is working on a plan for the first emission-free commercial airline route that operates a 19-seater airplane between Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) and London. The airplane, which is being developed by ZeroAvia, will fly entirely on hydrogen. Aviation partners ZeroAvia, the Royal Schiphol Group, Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport Foundation and the airport itself signed a cooperation agreement today to realize this ambition, as the airport announced on its website.

The agreement sets out a schedule for establishing the zero-emission flight route. It is potentially the world’s first international commercial operation with a hydrogen-powered airplane. ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group are in advanced talks with airlines to find an operator for the planned route.

Also read our articles on sustainable aviation.

In order to set up this commercial route, ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group are partnering to develop hydrogen refueling facilities at the airport and integrate them with airport processes. The two companies are also focusing on commerce, infrastructure and regulation. ZeroAvia has recently established an entity in the Netherlands. This offers ZeroAvia opportunities when it comes to commercialization and cooperation with airports, manufacturers and / or airlines within the Netherlands and the European Union.

New technique from ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia has focused the development of these planes on a hydrogen-electric powertrain (hydrogen fuel cells that drive electric motors). According to the company, it is a viable way to make aviation more sustainable on a large scale. The hydrogen-electric system is ZeroAvia is groundbreaking. The only emission is water vapor at manageable temperatures, which makes sustainable flight possible. Hydrogen-electric technology has the added benefit of having lower operating costs, which could make routes more attractive to airlines, airports and passengers.

Pioneering in a testing ground

Sergey Kiselev, Head of Europe at ZeroAvia: “This deal means that in just three years’ time you should be able to board a flight and make the one-hour journey between the UK and the Netherlands without having to worry about the impact on the climate. Together with partners like Royal Schiphol Group, we will be making truly emission-free flights for passengers in the first half of this decade.”

Ron Louwerse, CEO of Rotterdam the Hague Airport: “Boarding an emission-free flight from Rotterdam to London is just the beginning of sustainable aviation and is being made possible by pioneering and driving innovation in the sector. With the Netherlands as a testing ground for aviation, we are strengthening the competitive and knowledge position and the local business climate.”

Miranda Janse, director of Rotterdam the Hague Innovation Airport Foundation: “This cooperation marks an important milestone and brings the operational expertise of hydrogen flight into actual practice in the Netherlands.”

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