More confident now of making hydrogen-powered zero-emission planes by 2035: Airbus CEO

Airbus, SpiceJet, Guillaume Faury, Airbus Summit 2021

Airbus is more and more confident now of achieving its goal of making hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035 but various challenges such as finding the right fuel in the right quantity have to be resolved, said its CEO Guillaume Faury on Wednesday.

Exactly one year back, Airbus had revealed concepts of new hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft that could enter service by 2035.

All major Indian carriers except

SpiceJet

currently have Airbus planes in their fleets.

Speaking during Airbus Summit 2021 here, Faury stated: “This challenge is not only about an airplane. It is about having the right fuels — hydrogen at the right time, the right place, the right quantity, and the right price. And that is something that aviation can’t manage alone.”

We are more and more confident that this is an achievable goal when it comes to the hydrogen-powered plane, he mentioned.

However, since the aircraft manufacturer is working everyday to make the hydrogen-powered zero-emission plane a reality, it has realised that entering this aircraft into service in 2035 is just one of the challenges, he noted.

“Given the number of ruptures and changes that we are going to bring to the aviation sector, we need to onboard the regulators,” he stated.

There are a lot of things that need to be developed, to be decided to be written in terms of rules and regulations on how we are going to use the new fuels in airports and planes, and how we are going to certify the planes, Faury mentioned.

Also, there are obviously a large number of challenges when it comes to safety, reliability, and the way this plane is going to be operated, he said.

“It is collective challenge. But 2035, at the scale of aviation, is tomorrow. Therefore, we have to be fast and we have to be fast together,” Faury mentioned.

“And we are very happy to gather people from many many different sectors at this summit so that we understand better what needs to be done to be faster together going to that point of having the right fuel, the right planes, the right regulations, so that we can fly net-zero (emission) planes,” he added.

The two-day long Airbus Summit 2021 was conducted on the topic of “Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace”.

On September 21, Airbus had revealed three models of hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft that it plans to bring into service by 2035.

First is the turbofan design that would be capable of operating trans-continentally and would be powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion.

The second concept is a turboprop design that can carry up to 100 passengers and is powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines.

The turboprop design would be capable of travelling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips, Airbus had mentioned.

The third concept is a “blended-wing body” design, which can carry up to 200 passengers. In this design, the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft. It will be able to operate trans-continentally, Airbus had stated.

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