Last Thursday (24), ZeroAvia performed the first commercial flight with a hydrogen powered electric aircraft in history. In the test, which lasted 20 minutes, a small six-seat plane took off from an airfield in Bedfordshire, England, and crossed some counties in the south of the country.
Now, the company says that it intends to offer these short-term flights to the general public in up to three years, and that the technology needed to make long-term flights en masse is ready, which should happen by the end of this decade. What is currently missing is the support infrastructure.
On longer flights, ZeroAvia wants to start with distances of 400 kilometers.
For David Gleave, aviation safety researcher and researcher at Loughborough University, “it’s not just a matter of creating hydrogen-based planes and making them work, we need the infrastructure on the ground to support everything.”
There is no way to maintain mass flights powered by hydrogen because the infrastructure we currently have is not suitable for new technology or for essential processes, such as refueling. Other than that, aircraft still have to adapt to new safety requirements.
Airbus entering the game
ZeroAvia’s feat came just days after Airbus announced its intentions to hydrogenate its aircraft fleet.
Despite being one of the largest airlines in the world, putting this project into practice for Airbus would still run into the issue of infrastructure, and in a much larger proportion than for a company the size of ZeroAvia.