Delta Air Lines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to collaborate on research and development of hydrogen-powered aircraft. The news comes as both companies try to speed up air travel and achieve zero carbon emissions.
The carrier has become the first US-based airline to partner with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on the development of hydrogen-powered jet.
“To pull the future of sustainable aviation forward, we need to accelerate the development and commercialization of potentially disruptive technologies,” said Pam Fletcher, Delta’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Hydrogen fuel is an exciting concept that has the potential to redefine the status quo.”
As part of the agreement, Delta will help Airbus to identify “fleet and network expectations, and the operational and infrastructure requirements needed to develop commercial aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel”.
Airbus has revealed that it will use the A380 as a test bed aircraft for its ZEROe project, which aims to develop a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The aircraft manufacturer is seeking help from the airlines to identify key needs from potential customers. Airbus has already signed agreements with other airlines, including easyJet, Air New Zealand, and SAS Scandinavian Airlines.
“To decarbonize aviation, we need to develop the right technology bricks and a dynamic hydrogen eco-system,” said Julie Kitcher, Airbus E.V.P. Communications & Corporate Affairs.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) along with global aviation players such as Airbus and Boeing have pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.