Scilly zero-carbon flights bid progresses

Three companies have signed a letter of intent to bring hydrogen-powered flights to the UK’s Isles of Scilly.

Britten-Norman, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) and The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) have agreed to work together to make the vision a reality.

Using Britten-Norman’s expertise as the original equipment manufacturer of the Islander short-sector aircraft, CAeS is leading the collaboration under Project Fresson with a view to integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into the plane.

ISSG, long-term operator of the Islander, has sold one of its aircraft to CAeS to be retrofitted. The company will further support Project Fresson by providing expertise gained from its own operations and its understanding of infrastructure requirements.

Paul Hutton, CEO at CAeS, said: “It is incredibly important for the future of our planet that we deliver emission-free aircraft and I am delighted to see the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s commitment to this outcome. I would encourage contact from airlines of all sizes who would like to find out how these aircraft can be part of their future.”

The hydrogen-electric fuel cell option provides operators with greater flexibility, and a higher passenger load. It also boosts the bottom line through a potential 50% reduction in powertrain maintenance cost and a 40-50% reduction in variable costs.

Green hydrogen can be produced locally using renewable energy. Turnaround times between sectors are similar to those achieved with fossil fuels, making operations more resilient.