Loganair eyes hydrogen Islander flights by 2027 – FlightGlobal




Loganair eyes hydrogen Islander flights by 2027 – FlightGlobal.


UK regional carrier Loganair hopes to be operating a hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft from its base in Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands by 2027 under a new agreement with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS).


Covered by a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the pair, the “strategic alliance” will see the partners work together to ensure the operational roll-out of the hydrogen-powered Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander being developed by CAeS.


Loganair says the “specific target” of the agreement is to “introduce the world’s inaugural hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander into operational service within the Orkney region” by 2027. The carrier does not indicate where the aircraft will be sourced from.


Topics to be addressed under the MoU include operational requirements and design, standards and regulations, infrastructure development, and stakeholder engagement.


Paul Hutton, CAeS chief executive, said:


This memorandum of understanding marks a significant stride toward achieving zero-emission flight in the Orkney Islands and potentially enabling the first zero-emissions passenger air service, right here in the UK.


CAeS hopes to certify the fuel cell powertrain conversion for the Islander by 2026. First flight of the demonstrator aircraft, part of a UK government-funded project, is due later this year.


Should Loganair’s trial of the modified Islander prove a success, it will look at the “potential adoption of CAeS’s hydrogen fuel cell technology” into its Islander fleet.


Loganair currently operates a pair of nine-seat Islanders, both approaching 40 years of age. The airline has yet to decide whether it will procure new aircraft or convert its existing inventory.


”The CAeS design is capable of being retrofitted to an existing aircraft or incorporated into a new build. A decision on what option is best for Loganair’s operations will be taken in due course,”


Based at Kirkwall airport, the BN-2s are used for island-hopping routes – including the world’s shortest scheduled service between Westray and Papa Westray – under a public service obligation contract with Orkney Islands Council. Flight duration ranges from 2min to 15min.


Peter Simpson, Loganair executive chair, said:


The short-haul routes we operate in Orkney and the challenging weather conditions we face, make the ideal testbed for hydrogen-electric aircraft, and we are incredibly proud that we could be offering the world’s first commercial zero-emissions flights.


Loganair also operates a pair of De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters configured with 19 seats. CAeS has in the past indicated an interest in developing a fuel-cell conversion for that aircraft.


”It’s hoped that the lessons we learn from the Islander will allow the technology to scale up to larger aircraft by 2040. But the inter-island routes that the Islander operates are the ideal testbed for the first hydrogen flight,”


Kirkwall airport has in recent years become a testbed for emerging technologies, since 2020 hosting the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE). Funded by the UK’s Future Flight Challenge, SATE provides a location to trial low-carbon technologies in real-world conditions.



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