HIA urges UK government to support hydrogen for aviation


Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) consortium, led by aviation giants like Airbus and Rolls-Royce, have called upon the UK government to take immediate steps to develop and become a leader in hydrogen-powered aviation.

“It’s without doubt that the UK is well placed to be a global leader in hydrogen – but the opportunity will be gone if we do not act now to build on all the great work that has already been done. The breakthroughs in hydrogen-powered technology happening across the UK are truly astonishing but these advances will be inconsequential if we fail to complement them with the appropriate skills, infrastructure, investment and regulation needed to support hydrogen aviation,” said Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and first Chair of HIA.

“HIA’s Milestone Delivery Report outlines the critical steps and the timeframe needed to do this and if followed, not only will it create significant wealth, jobs and prosperity across industry and across the UK, it will be a vital component in decarbonising the aviation sector.”

The HIA, formed of easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace, Bristol Airport and ZeroAvia, outlined six critical steps in its Milestone Delivery Report.

The report emphasises six crucial steps. These include fostering research and development in hydrogen propulsion systems, establishing regulations for hydrogen flight, and building a network of airports equipped for hydrogen use. However, the alliance highlights that securing sufficient hydrogen supply is a major challenge. The report calls for a rapid increase in renewable energy generation and investments in hydrogen infrastructure and workforce training.

The coalition also argues that government support is vital to overcome initial hurdles. It stresses the need for financial incentives and a dedicated transition fund to encourage industry adoption of hydrogen technology.

Meanwhile, developing a skilled workforce is another priority that needs intervention. Collaboration between government and industry is seen as essential to equip workers with the necessary skills to maintain and operate these future aircraft.

This plan underscores the potential of hydrogen aviation as an economic engine. The report highlights the industry’s significant contribution to the UK’s GDP and positions hydrogen as a way to sustain these benefits while achieving environmental goals. Estimates suggest hydrogen aviation could create substantial job opportunities and generate billions in revenue.

The report notes that the UK’s aviation sector already contributing more than £22bn directly to GDP and an additional £34bn from exporting aerospace components. It claims that developing hydrogen industry could generate an additional £34bn for the UK every year.