The British Electric Aviation Group (EAG) unveiled plans for a large passenger aircraft with hybrid propulsion that is expected to be launched in less than ten years. The hybrid-electric jet is to seat 70 passengers, fly up to 1,500 kilometres and should be airborne by 2028.
The UK-based company has now put its plans into concrete terms for this year’s Farnborough Airshow, being held in a purely virtual setting. Kamran Iqbal, founder and CEO of EAG, said that a lot is already being invested in hybrid and purely electric aircraft, but generally with less than 19 seats. “Significant investments have been raised to develop sub-19 seat hybrid and all-electric aircraft which we believe is the wrong strategy. These small planes cannot meet the demands of mass air transportation or the requirements of decarbonisation.”
EAG sees itself as the harbinger of a new market which, according to the British company, could be worth 4.4 trillion dollars. The Bristol-based company has already registered 25 patents. EAG has not yet released a lot of details about the first hybrid machine, christened ‘Hera’. The aircraft should be able to cope with short take-off and landing (“short take-off-and-landing, STOL”) and be able to accommodate both passengers and cargo in a flexibly adjustable cabin. EAG also has plans to design the model in such a way that it can be converted to fully electric operation or other “alternative propulsion systems”.
Although entrepreneur Kamran Iqbal was previously employed by Airbus and Bombardier, among others, his initiative to build a large hybrid jet is likely to be viewed with scepticism by many. Industry observers assume that hybrid electric machines are more realistic in the lower market segment with up to 19 passengers. But EAG is likely to receive applause from the British government: Only a few days ago, the British government launched an initiative called the Jet Zero Council for emission-free flying, “to tackle aviation emissions in line with the government’s ambition to achieve the first-ever zero-emission long haul passenger plane,” as was stated in the UK government website.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke
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