Birmingham Airport (BHX) and ZeroAvia have entered into a long-term partnership to bring on-airfield hydrogen refuelling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft to BHX in the coming years.

The new partnership follows BHX’s plans to become a net-zero-carbon airport by 2033, as outlined in its 2022 Carbon Roadmap, and will see the airport use a section on its airfield for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, testing and operations.

“We are thrilled to partner with ZeroAvia on creating solutions to the main challenge of our generation – protecting the future of our planet,” said Simon Richards, Chief Finance and Sustainability Officer, BHX. “We could, quite conceivably, see the first hydrogen-powered domestic passenger flight taking off from BHX in the UK in the next few years.”

In January, ZeroAvia completed a successful test flight of a hydrogen-electric engine prototype at its base in Kemble, Gloucestershire. The technology uses hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity which powers electric motors, turning the aircraft’s propellors and producing water as its only emission.

The hydrogen-electric aircraft developer is also exploring the possibility of zero-emission travel from Birmingham to domestic routes such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Man and Dublin as well as holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, using zero-emission systems capable of flying 20-seat aircraft 300 nautical miles by 2025 and 80 seat aircraft 1,000 nautical miles by 2027, respectively.

Speaking about the partnership, Arnab Chatterjee, VP, Infrastructure, ZeroAvia, said: “Birmingham Airport can be a central hub in a green flight network in the UK, given that any domestic mainland destination will be reachable from the airport using our first systems in 2025.”

“Given the commitments of the Jet Zero Strategy on domestic aviation, it is fantastic to engage with forward-thinking airports that want to be early innovators and developers to deliver the vision of bringing truly clean, quiet and pollution-free flights to the UK,” added Chatterjee.

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