London City Airport
A UK aviation consortium featuring representatives from airports, manufacturers and academic institutions have today released their interim findings on the viability of achieving zero emission flight in the UK.
Over the past year, Project NAPKIN, which is funded through the UK Government Innovate UK Future Flight Challenge, has been evaluating each part of the future aviation system from future aircraft and their performance, infrastructure at airports, viable economic models and passenger attitudes.
Central to the project has been analysis of three aircraft, a 9-seat Britten-Norman Islander, a 19-seat DHC-6 Twin Otter and a reconfigured 48 seat ATR 72-600. The consortium believes that it would be possible for all three aircraft to be hydrogen retrofitted and that the current airfield and in-flight performance of the aircraft would be largely unaffected.
From an airport infrastructure perspective, using London City Airport’s 2019 domestic schedule as a baseline, the consortium believes a zero-emission network could be integrated into the Airport’s operations, subject to appropriate storage investments and ensuring sufficient supply and sustainable delivery of hydrogen.
Challenges remain, which the consortium will look to engage with, particularly relating to cost as the overall industry recovers from COVID-19 and achieving meaningful scalability across the country.