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Transport / Hopes to up-scale hydrogen-electric aircraft technology

LOGANAIR says it hopes to scale up proposed hydrogen-electric technology to larger aircraft in the future after announcing a trial in Orkney.

Earlier this week the airline announced progress on a project which could see the first operational hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander aircraft flying from Kirkwall by 2027.

It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), which is described as a pioneer in zero-emissions flight.

This encompasses operational requirements and design, standards and regulations, infrastructure development and stakeholder engagement.

Loganair’s executive chairman Peter Simpson said the short-haul routes in Orkney and the challenging weather conditions make for an “ideal test bed” for hydrogen-electric aircraft.

Kirkwall also plays host to the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment, the UK’s first “low carbon test location” at an operational airport, which is operated by partner Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL).

When asked if the hydrogen-electric technology could be rolled out to Shetland in future, a spokesperson for Loganair, which runs external flights from Sumburgh Airport, said:

“Loganair’s proactive approach toward implementing sustainable aviation includes the potential adoption of CAeS’s hydrogen fuel cell technology into its Islander fleet.

“In the future, it’s hoped that this technology can be scaled up to larger aircraft on relevant routes currently operated by Loganair.”

Loganair has a goal to reach net zero across its entire operations by 2040.

Meanwhile the airline confirmed that it still has a couple of Saab 340 planes on its books available for stand-in jobs despite announcing the retiral of the aircraft recently.

Retiring pilot Watt at the helm for Loganair’s last flight with Saab 340 plane

It comes after some services to Sumburgh were delivered by a Saab 340 in recent days.

A spokesperson said scheduled services using the aircraft have come to an end, and the two Saab 340s still with the airline are due to move to new owners in the coming days and weeks.

“In the interim they can and will be used when required to provide relief service and disruption cover,” they said.

Loganair have replaced the Saab 340s with ATR planes.

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