Hydrogen-powered test flight takes off

From Jersey Airport
6th March 2023

Ports of Jersey is proud to be in partnership with Universal Hydrogen, who have just launched a successful test flight of a 40-passenger airliner powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The flight, which took place last week (2 March) in the United States, was the largest plane ever to fly powered principally on hydrogen.

The plane flew for 15 minutes and reached an altitude of 3,500 feet above sea level. The flight was the first in a two-year flight test programme which aims to culminate in 2025 with regional ATR aircraft entering passenger service powered by hydrogen.

Ports of Jersey is working with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands to trial the use of green hydrogen as an alternative, fully decarbonised aviation fuel, which will ultimately see Jersey taking a leading position in sustainable air travel within the UK and Europe.

Ports of Jersey’s CEO, Matt Thomas, said: “This is great news and I hope this successful test flight will see the global move towards hydrogen-powered transport going from strength to strength. Our work with Universal Hydrogen for the aviation industry, and with OceansLab for the maritime industry, supports our objective to responsibly connect our Islands and work towards a future of truly sustainable travel.”

Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said: “Jersey has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and our ambition is for a future in which Jersey is both well-connected and sustainable. This test flight is an exciting step towards that becoming a reality and is an insight into the Island’s future.”

Airport Director, Robin MacRae, said: “This is a significant milestone for our partnership with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands. This historic first test flight in the USA is the start of decarbonisation of the global airline industry and we are proud of the small part we hope to play in the road to zero-carbon emission flying.”

Blue Islands’ Chief Executive, Rob Veron, said: “We’re committed to sustainably connecting our islands, and reducing our impact through next-generation technologies is our future.  We’re proud to be partnering with Universal Hydrogen. Its ground-breaking test flight of a hydrogen powered regional aircraft is a major milestone in this journey – a step closer to our ultimate goal of net-zero.”

Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands have signed a letter of intent to use Universal Hydrogen’s aircraft conversion kits on Blue Islands’ ATR 72 aircraft.

Jersey Airport