Heathrow is looking to influence its role as one of the world’s leading airports to drive sustainable change across the industry. As a result, they have announced a grand innovation prize, valued at nearly £1million to motivate and encourage airlines to invest in electrical technology. The prize will be awarded to the first electric-hybrid aircraft put into regular service at the UK’s international hub. They will be granted free landing charges at Heathrow for an entire year.

Global air travel is expected to double by 2035. Therefore these changes are said to play a critical role in ensuring that the aviation sector has a sustainable future. The two major barriers for electrical technology reside in the cost of development and current demand.

A Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye, said:

“Heathrow has long been a leader in sustainable aviation. We championed carbon neutral growth in global aviation, which will come into effect in 2020. The next frontier is zero carbon flying, and I hope this prize will help to make it a reality at Heathrow by 2030.”

Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini, said:

“With air traffic projected to double every 15 years, it is our duty as an industry to find solutions that ensure sustainable growth with minimal environmental impact. At Airbus, this is our driving force for developing electric and hybrid-electric propulsion technologies. We commend Heathrow Airport’s initiative to jump-start the adoption of hybrid-electric technologies with the launch of the Grand Innovation Prize!”

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