Toulouse, France - Airbus and Scandinavian Airlines will jointly conduct a research program for the development of hybrid planes powered by electricity.
The emphasis of the research is operational and infrastructural challenges associated with the large-scale introduction of such aircraft.
According to the memorandum of understanding signed between Airbus and SAS on May 22, the study will start in June and will run until the end of 2020.
Airbus says that modern passenger planes are about 80% more efficient than fifty years ago. But because air traffic is expected to increase more than double in the next twenty years, reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry remains high on the agenda.
However, the development of electric and hybrid commercial aircraft is still in its infancy. The introduction of hybrid passenger planes is not expected before 2030.
“We are proud of our ambitious sustainability work and are now pleased that Airbus has chosen SAS to partner up with us for this future project. If this becomes a reality, it will revolutionize emissions”, said SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson.
SAS is one of the pioneers in the industry working for decades to reduce emissions and operate environmentally friendly, sustainable commercial flights.
SAS targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% by 2030, mainly by adding new generation aircraft to its fleet and increasing the use of biofuels.
“We are delighted to be embarking on this partnership with SAS. Leveraging our respective expertise to explore the potential of hybrid-electric propulsion opportunities in our aviation eco-system,” said Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini.
The research also aims to include a renewable energy supplier to the study for future climate neutral operations. With this multidisciplinary approach, Airbus and SAS aim to change the entire ecosystem of air travel.