Work will begin on creating hybrid planes with hydrogen fuel cells which can be used when taxiing along airport runways instead of engines. This activity takes up around 20 minutes of flight time and using alternative energy could save as much as four per of the airline's traditional fuel consumption each year. It would also make this part of the flight completely emissions free.
The hydrogen cells are also fuelled by kinetic energy from the planes movement and the water by-product can even be reused in the aircraft's water tanks during the flight.
“The hybrid plane concept we are announcing today is both a vision of the future and a challenge to our partners and suppliers to continue to push the boundaries towards reducing our carbon emissions," said the airline's head of engineering Ian Davies who is working with Cranfield University on the technology.
"If we can power a car and a bus, surely we can power the aircraft during the turnaround, and even taking it a step further we could power a green taxi system - we can make the whole ground journey almost silent, only powering the engines at the end of the runway," he explained.