EasyJet backs electric planes, plans short-haul 'electric flights'

EasyJet has announced backing for plans to develop electric replacements for the fleet of aircraft it uses on short-haul flights.

The UK-based airline revealed yesterday that it is partnering with US manufacturer Wright Electric, which was founded in 2016, but which is already shaking up the industry, after successfully developing a two-seater fully electric prototype plane.

Wright Electric aims to make every short flight (under two hours), zero emissions by 2037.

EasyJet had earlier indicated that it planned to look at more sustainable avenues.

According to the EasyJet's chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, the aerospace industry would be following the lead of automotive industry in developing electric engines and since 2000, their emissions have been cut by over 31 per cent.

According to commentators, this TransAtlantic partnership is the first move to actually provide a tangible solution, and one that Wright Electric claims would not only cut emissions but noise pollution, too.

According to the company, its battery-powered models, capable of flying 335 miles, are 50 per cent quieter than standard fuel models and 10 per cent cheaper for airlines to buy and operate, savings which could be passed on to the customer.

EasyJet said in a statement that with this limit  on their distance they could easily cover popular routes such as London to Paris, and Edinburgh to Bristol, making up a grand total of 20 per cent of all passenger routes it flew.

McCall said she is now confident that such a plane, which could possibly carry 220 passengers, would eventually fly.

"We share an ambition with Wright Electric for a more sustainable aviation industry," she said.

"Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment."

Wright Electric said, EasyJet's support was a "powerful validation" of its plans that would involve developing "new energy storage chemistries" that are lighter than conventional batteries.