How Are Airlines Working Towards Zero Carbon Emission Flying?
Airline easyJet has announced that it is working with GKN Aerospace to work toward reducing carbon emissions in aviation through the adoption of zero carbon emission technologies. Hydrogen Industry Leaders look at the partnership and how it will help create the pathway for aviation to become more sustainable.

The Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget report revealed that 7 per cent of 2019 emissions were from aviation and that the UK needs strategies to reduce its emissions from aviation to reach our net zero targets.

easyJet will support the development of GKN Aerospace’s Hydrogen Combustion (H2JET) and Hydrogen Fuel Cell (H2GEAR) technology, including exploring the options for a flight demonstration. In addition to this, it will also provide insights into operational requirements and economics.

H2GEAR aims to develop a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft that could be scaled up to a larger aircraft.

The programme is supported by £27M of ATI funding, matched by GKN Aerospace and its industrial partners.

H2JET is a two-year programme that aims to push the development of key subsystems for gas turbine-based hydrogen propulsion of medium-range civil aircraft.

Technology is essential if the industry is going to reach net zero targets

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at easyJet, said: “At easyJet, we are committed to working towards a future with zero carbon emission flying. We know that technology is crucial to achieving our decarbonisation targets, with hydrogen propulsion a frontrunner for short-haul airlines like easyJet.

Cross-industry partnerships are key to developing these promising new technologies. We look forward to collaborating with GKN Aerospace to support bringing this technology to maturity as early as possible.

Max Brown, VP of Technology, GKN Aerospace, said: “At GKN Aerospace, sustainability is at the heart of our business. Hydrogen-powered aircraft offer a clear route to keep the world connected, with dramatically cleaner skies.

The UK is at the forefront of this technology. We look forward to working with easyJet and our partners to develop and industrialise the breakthrough technology to fly aircraft with zero CO2 emissions.

The partnership is key when it comes to developing technologies

Working with partners across the industry like GKN Aerospace and Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, and Wright Electric, the airline wants to accelerate the development of zero-carbon emission technologies and support infrastructure.

In 2019, easyJet became the first major airline worldwide to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all its flights, coming at no additional cost to its customers. Now, the airline only supports certified projects by either Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard.

easyJet hopes to begin flying customers on planes powered by hydrogen-combustion, hydrogen-electric, or a hybrid of both by the mid to late 2030s.

Decarbonising aviation is a crucial focus for easyJet and the whole aviation industry. Partnerships like this one set a pathway for the industry to become more sustainable and show possibilities.