This time last year, Airbus revealed three concept aircraft, presently going by the name of ZEROe. The aviation powerhouse is keen to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035 with this project. The program is making significant strides with fellow European outfit Lufthansa announcing that it wants to become a launch customer.
Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace is the theme of the Airbus Summit this week. Simple Flying is currently in attendance at the event in Toulouse and heard the thoughts of Airbus and Lufthansa regarding the exciting hydrogen aircraft.
Annette Mann, Lufthansa Group SVP of Corporate Responsibility expressed her company’s interest in pioneering the ZEROe. She noted that the firm’s leadership wants to be a launch customer of the ambitious plane.
By launching the aircraft, the airline will carry on a long-standing trend for the airline regarding its trusting relationship with Airbus. Moreover, the carrier has the expertise to even contribute to the development of the type, with its engineering subsidiaries capable of offering valuable input.
“We’re really interested. Six out of 11 fleet types in the Lufthansa fleet today, we have been the launching customer,” Mann said at the Airbus Summit.
“We also have Lufthansa Technik as a subsidiary, which has substantial knowledge when it comes to developing technology for aviation. So, this is so close to our heart, really driving the change and driving innovation.”
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A balanced program
Lufthansa is actively involved in the program. Notably, chairman and chief executive officer Carsten Spohr has dubbed the project exciting and expressed his support for hydrogen-based solutions.
Two of the ZEROe concepts are based on recognizable airframes. The smaller turboprop concept is targeted to carry 100 passengers and is billed to have a range of 1,000 NM (1,850 km). The larger turbofan is being analyzed to transport 200 passengers and reach a range of up to 2,000 NM (3,700 km).
The third concept looks like it’s from deep in the future. It is conceptualized with a blended wing design and would provide greater hydrogen storage and distribution.
The right fit
Altogether, this project will undoubtedly go through several twists and turns as the hydrogen technology involved matures. So, it’s hard to tell who will exactly become the launch customer at this early stage.
Along with its long-haul services, Lufthansa has an extensive short and medium-haul network. Additionally, the European aviation industry is committed to operate in a net-zero ecosystem by 2050. With hydrogen technology set to be a crucial solution to help reach these goals, Lufthansa is once again not afraid to put its trust in Airbus to usher it into another chapter of the industry.
What are your thoughts about Lufthansa wanting to become a launch customer of the Airbus ZEROe? Do you feel that this would be a good move for the airline? Let us know what you think of the concept and its prospects in the comment section.