easyJet and partner Wright Electric have revealed progress into next phase of development of its electric aircraft as the carrier looks to a future where it could establish electric ‘flyways’ on key short-haul routes.
London – Amsterdam, Europe’s second busiest route, is seen as a strong contender for full electric flying in the future. US start-up company Wright Electric has applied for the patent on novel motor design for an easyJet-sized aircraft.
Wright Electric, has commenced work on an electric engine that will power a nine-seater aircraft. Wright Electric partner Axter Aerospace already has a two-seater aircraft flying, and the larger aircraft is expected to start flying in 2019.
The prototype propulsion system for the nine-seat aircraft is four times more powerful than the system installed on the two-seat aircraft. Work will commence on an easyJet-sized aircraft by aircraft designer Darold Cummings.
easyJet said the move to get a patent for a larger aircraft is an “exciting development” which suggests the transition towards an all-electric commercial passenger aicraft capable of flying passengers across easyJet’s UK and European network is in sight.
Since 2000 easyJet said it has reduced its carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre by over 32 per cent.
easyJet chief executive officer, Johan Lundgren said: “We know it is important to our customers that we operate sustainably and with the introduction of A320neos, we can already provide a 15% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% less noise footprint, putting us amongst the best-ranking airlines in Europe.
“Looking forward, the technological advancements in electric flying are truly exciting and it is moving fast. From the two seater aircraft, which is already flying, to the nine seater which will fly next year, electric flying is becoming a reality and we can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel.
“The target range of the electric plane is around 500 kilometres which, within our current route portfolio, would mean a route like Amsterdam to London could become the first electric ‘flyway’. And as it is currently Europe’s second busiest route, this could in turn offer significant reductions in noise and carbon emissions, with multiple take offs and landings every day.
“We think the Netherlands has an opportunity to lead the way if the Government and airports encourage airlines to operate in the most sustainable way now and in the future and incentivise them through a different and lower charging structure.”
easyJet carried 22 million passengers since its very first flight from Amsterdam to London in 1996, now flying up to 22 flights a day which account for 34 per cent of the total airline’s capacity out of Amsterdam with an average of 1.8 million passengers a year and a record high load factor of 93 per cent on the route.