The Airport Operator Magazine - Pages 36-37
Jersey Airport is looking at the possible introduction of hydrogen flights and is assisting with drone trials, as it stages a strong recovery from the pandemic.
The airport and its base carrier, Blue Islands, have announced plans for a collaboration with the US aeronautical company, Universal Hydrogen, to examine the potential for transforming aviation in the Channel Islands with clean hydrogen.
Blue Islands has a fleet of ATR regional transport aircraft, which is one of the first aircraft that Universal Hydrogen are retrofitting for hydrogen propulsion. Airport Director, Robin MacRae emphasised that although this is still “very early technology”, Universal Hydrogen are progressing very quickly with the first flight trials, scheduled for later this year.
A retrofitted Channel Islands aircraft fleet would require regulatory approval from both the EU aviation safety agency (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but Universal Hydrogen are already well-advanced with the approval process.
Universal Hydrogen has suggested that it could “provide a true zero emissions solution for Blue Islands’ services as early as 2025”. MacRae said “we are working closely with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands on developing new ground-operating procedures for hydrogen propulsion aircraft and on early engagement with our aviation regulator in the Channel Islands”.
Jersey Airport is also part of a £3.7m Innovate UK- funded project which will culminate in a series of demonstration flights of “uncrewed aircraft” (drones) in and around Jersey in early 2024