Heathrow launches blueprint for zero carbon domestic flight

Heathrow AirportLondon Heathrow Airport has successfully pitched two ideas for zero carbon domestic flight to Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge.

The win gives the airport the opportunity to research new ground-breaking concepts that, in future, could help to reduce emissions, cut costs and make the airport more efficient as the industry works to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The two projects being researched by Heathrow are:

  • Fly2Plan – How new technologies such as cloud infrastructure and blockchain could use the airport’s data more efficiently, creating a decentralised, resilient and efficient operating model to support cross-company collaboration. The concept has the potential to unlock opportunities for new entrants, cut costs and safely allow autonomous drone operators to maximise their use of UK airspace.
  • Project NAPKIN – The New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network sets out to develop a blueprint to help make zero carbon aviation a reality across the UK. This idea could boost domestic connectivity and position the UK as a world leader in sustainable aviation.

Both projects are closely aligned with the Prime Minister’s key ambitions.

The Future Flight Challenge, funded through £125 million of government grants, has three overarching objectives:

  1. Safeguarding the UK’s advantage in aerospace research and development
  2. Reducing aviation emissions
  3. Creating economic opportunities from new forms of air mobility. Heathrow’s two projects have progressed to this stage of the challenge as they show the potential to deliver on all three fronts.

Heathrow has kicked-off the first stage of the research of these concepts, which is set to take place through till early 2022. The next phase will see live demonstrations of the concepts in action.

The airport is working with several groups across a number of sectors to bring this challenge to life including Oxford University, Cranfield University, Kings College London, NATS, SITA, Rolls Royce, University of Southampton, Deloitte, UCL, London City Airport and Highlands and Islands Airports.

Heathrow Airport was one of the first businesses to sign up to the Terra Carta, a Sustainable Markets Initiative created by HRH, The Prince of Wales.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye said, “Heathrow has always served as a testbed for ground-breaking green technologies. These concepts go further than ever before, with the potential to transform the role that aviation plays in Britain’s economy.

“The Future Flight Challenge has come at a critical time for the country and our industry. We’re proud to be driving forward with these disruptive initiatives in the year that the UK hosts COP26 and our industry builds back better, as we work to recover from the devastating impacts of this pandemic.”