July 20, 2023: On Monday, British entrepreneur Dale Vince announced strategies to establish an electric airline that will be powered using renewable energy, and those behind the scheme hope it will mark the start of a new era in air travel.
The construction of Ecojet represents the latest attempt to reduce aviation’s environmental impression. Flights in the U.K. will begin in 2024. Trips to mainland Europe will track, and long-haul journeys are also in the works.
Ecojet will use 19- and 70-seat turboprop aircraft. While the goal is for the airplanes to use hydrogen-electric powertrains eventually, initial flights won’t.
“Short-term, to secure roads and a license from the Civil Aviation Authority, Ecojet will initially fly using conventionally fuelled planes,” a statement issued on Monday stated.
It stated that the aircraft would be “retrofitted with the hydrogen-electric power trains as soon they become approved for service by the CAA.”
The first retrofits are slated for 2025, a year after flights begin. Onboard meals will be plant-based, and single-use plastic will be scrapped.
Repurposing planes instead of creating new ones “will save 90,000 tonnes of carbon per year,” the statement said. “The only byproduct will be water, which can be captured and released into the lower atmosphere to avoid the damaging effects of contrails,” it added.
Vince, the founder of British energy firm Ecotricity, was bullish about Ecojet’s prospects. “The question of how to create sustainable air travel has plagued the green signal for decades,” he said.
He described Ecojet as “the most significant step towards a solution to date.”