Running a hydrogen plane could be cheaper than traditional aircraft by 2035

(Transport and Environment, 22 May 2023) Deploying hydrogen planes in Europe is economically feasible, new study shows, but must be supported by the right set of policies and incentives.

Hydrogen jets could be cheaper to run than fossil fuel planes from 2035 provided kerosene is taxed adequately, a new study shows[1],[2]. In 2035, running planes on hydrogen could be 8% more expensive than using kerosene. But with a tax on fossil jet fuel and a price on carbon, hydrogen planes could become 2% cheaper to operate than their kerosene counterparts. These pricing measures are key to the deployment of green technologies like hydrogen planes, T&E says.

An economic study by research group Steer, and commissioned by T&E, looked at future operating costs of hydrogen planes on intra-European flights and found that they could be an efficient, cost competitive technology to decarbonise the sector.

But aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which has launched three concepts for hydrogen planes, is yet to prove it will be able to meet its planned 2035 launch date for its plane. It has warned that the slow development of the hydrogen ecosystem could delay the launch of its zero-emission planes. Airbus has also opposed a criteria in the EU taxonomy – the EU’s list of sustainable investments – whereby only zero emission aircraft would get a green investment label. This suggests Airbus doubts it will sell many of these aircraft, T&E says.

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Transport and Environment, 22 May 2023: Running a hydrogen plane could be cheaper than traditional aircraft by 2035