Heathrow has successfully pitched two schemes to the government’s Future Flight Challenge, which it believes could provide the basis for a UK-wide low-carbon domestic aviation network.
Project Napkin, New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network, will draft a blueprint for zero-carbon regional air travel in the UK through the introduction of new technologies and procedures.
Fly2Plan, meanwhile, will look at ways to use data collected by the airport more efficiently, which Heathrow says has the potential to break down barriers to new entrants, cut costs, and even pave the way for autonomous drone flight in UK airspace.
Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge is funded through £125 million in government grants, and aims to safeguard the UK’s aerospace prowess, cut emissions, and create new economic opportunities.
Heathrow said it was vital the UK used its airspace more efficiently, with autonomous drones and low carbon regional flight supporting ambitions to level up the country by connecting more UK regions to global growth sources.