EasyJet has set out further details of its short-haul electric aircraft ambitions, which could see the aircraft enter commercial use within a decade.
The low-cost carrier has been working with Wright Electric on a first generation of all electric aircraft. Wright has started work on an electric engine that could potentially power a nine-seater prototype.
The aim is, by 2027, to produce a battery powered aircraft with range capable of flying routes of up to two hours, or around 500km.
EasyJet’s vision is a network of short-haul “flyways” operated by electric aircraft, such as its busy London-Amsterdam route, Europe’s second busiest.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said on Tuesday (October 30) electric flying was “becoming a reality”.
He added it was easier than ever to foresee a future “not exclusively dependent on jet fuel”.
“Looking forward, the technological advancements in electric flying are truly exciting and it is moving fast,” said Lundgren.
“Electric flying is becoming a reality and we can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel.
“We think the Netherlands has an opportunity to lead the way if the government and airports encourage airlines to operate in the most sustainable way now and in the future and incentivise them.”
EasyJet operates more than 20 flights a day between London and Amsterdam and has carried more than 22 million passengers since its first flight in 1996. The route currently has a load factor of 93%.
The airline says its pursuit of electric aircraft could significantly reduce noise and carbon emissions. According to easyJet, the airline has reduced carbon emissions per passenger per kilometre by more than 32% since 2000.
Wright Electric believes its electric aircraft will be up to 50% quieter and 10% cheaper for airlines to buy and operate.
Chief executive Jeffrey Engler 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.”