Dale Vince, the environmentalist and founder of Stroud-based green energy company Ecotricity, has revealed groundbreaking plans to launch Ecojet — the world's first airline to be powered completely by renewable energy sources.
Vince has partnered with pilot Brent Smith and a team of aviation specialists and plans are in motion to launch flights across the UK in early 2024, starting with an Edinburgh to Southampton route and eventually expanding to mainland Europe shortly after, with long-haul flights planned for the future.
In the hope of making net zero and emission-free air travel possible for the first time in aviation history, Ecojet's fleet will be repurposed from older planes, saving 90,000 tonnes of carbon per year, and retrofitted with engines that convert green hydrogen into electricity.
Once converted, the fleet of several 19-seat and 70-seat aircraft will be just as powerful as before, but with a 100 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.
Onboard, plant-based meals will be served to passengers, single-use plastic will be banned and staff will be issued with environmentally-friendly uniforms.
Vince said: 'The question of how to create sustainable air travel has plagued the green movement for decades — Ecojet is by far the most significant step towards a solution to date.
'The desire to travel is deeply etched into the human spirit and flights free of C02 emissions, powered by renewable energy, will allow us to explore our incredible world — without harming it — for the first time.'
Ecojet is currently applying for its licence from the Civil Aviation Authority and procuring slots at airports for its future flights. In the first year, flights will initially be powered by regular kerosene-based fuel, just until work on the retrofitted engines gets under way in early 2025.