Easyjet says its partner Wright Electric has progressed into the ‘next phase’ of development of its electric aircraft, sparking the airline to lay out plans for the future of its operations.
Wright Electric has applied for a patent on the motor design for an Easyjet-sized aircraft that theoretically could fly the distance between London and Amsterdam, and the airline says the route is a “strong contender” for electric flights.
The US-based start-up has already completed test flights of a two-seater electric aircraft and says it expects to test a nine-seater version in 2019. Aircraft designer Darold Cummings will lead the work on developing a larger, Easyjet-sized plane soon.
Easyjet has invested in sustainability projects to reduce its carbon and noise footprint. It has reduced its emissions per passenger per kilometre by 32 per cent since 2000 by switching to fuel-efficient aircraft such as the A320neo family.
The carrier says the fact that the London-Amsterdam route is Europe’s second busiest makes it “an ideal route for all electric plane flying”, or what Easyjet has dubbed an electric ‘flyway’.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of Easyjet, said: “We know it is important to our customers that we operate sustainably... 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.”
Lundgren said the target distance for the Easyjet-sized aircraft is 500 kilometres and commented that the Netherlands can “lead the way if the government and airports encourage airlines to operate in the most sustainable way” through incentives such as a “lower charging structure”.
Jeffrey Engler, CEO of Wright Electric, added: “We are excited about what the next year holds. Easyjet has been a fantastic partner, and we look forward to helping introduce low-emissions, low-noise aviation to Europe.”