Plans to operate commercial hydrogen-electric flights between London and Rotterdam have been announced. Aviation firm ZeroAvia said it was developing a 19-seater aircraft that would "fly entirely on hydrogen" The project hopes it will take to the skies in 2024.

A partnership between ZeroAvia, airport company Royal Schiphol Group and Rotterdam the Hague Airport has been established to work on the initiative. "The deal sets a solid timeline for the launch of the first zero emission commercial passenger flights between the UK and the Netherlands," the company says.

The World Wildlife Fund describes aviation as "one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change" It adds that air travel is the most carbon-intensive activity an individual can do.ZeroAvia's research and development is centered around powering electric motors utilizing hydrogen fuel cells.

In September 2020, a six-seater hydrogen fuel cell plane from the company completed its maiden flight. Airbus released details of three hydrogen-fueled concept planes, with the European aerospace giant claiming they could enter service by the year 2035. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary was cautious when it came to the outlook for new and emerging technologies in the sector.

"I don't see the arrival of … hydrogen fuels, ... not before 2030," he says. "So it will certainly be after my career in the airline industry is finished ... but I hope it will get here before the end of our mortal lives," he adds.

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