Heathrow Airport is offering a major incentive to the UK’s first electric commercial plane: free landing charges for one year. Worth nearly £1million, the prize is the latest in a suite of measures designed to encourage electric aviation.
In a world airport first, Heathrow Airport has announced that the first electric-hybrid aircraft to land at its airport will not have to pay landing charges for an entire year when it is put into regular service at the UK’s international hub. The incentive is valued at nearly £1 million.
According to a Heathrow press release, there are already more than 100 electric aircraft projects underway across the world and current industry thinking suggests electric aircraft could touch down at major international airports by 2030.
But innovators are facing two main hurdles at this time: the cost of development and current demand. This is why Heathrow is working to incentivise airlines to invest in electric technology and speed up the arrival of zero-emissions flights at the UK’s biggest airport.
The prize is just the latest in a suite of measures that Heathrow is pursuing to decarbonize the industry and pursue clean growth. It currently uses environmental charges to encourage airlines to bring their greenest fleet to Heathrow, publishes the quarterly “Fly Quiet and Green” league table that tracks airline performance on noise and emissions targets, and is in a partnership with Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech to drive the take-up of more sustainable biofuels.
Heathrow’s announcement was welcomed by the aviation industry and government alike, with the Chief Technology Officer of Airbus, Grazia Vittadini, calling it “our duty as an industry to find solutions that ensure sustainable growth with minimal environmental impact” in the face of projections that air traffic will double every 15 years.
Heathrow aims to operate a carbon neutral airport infrastructure by 2020 and achieve zero carbon by 2050.
Image credit: Heathrow