Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles believes the global aviation industry is perhaps a decade away from having electric, hydrogen or any other alternative energy-powered aircraft in commercial use.
Glasgow Airport-based Loganair will be at the heart of trials of low carbon planes, powered by electric, hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels, in Orkney this summer.
But rather than wait for testing and scale-up to start delivering commercially viable solutions in its contribution to the energy transition, Loganair has claimed a UK aviation sector first in managing and mitigating the environmental impact of flying.
The entire transport industry has a huge task ahead to address and reduce emissions from every form of travel, and it’s our responsibility as the UK’s largest regional airline to lead the way.”
Jonathan Hinkles, CEO, Loganair
The regional carrier’s new GreenSkies environmental programme includes a commitment to fully convert Loganair’s fleet to net-zero carbon emissions aircraft by 2040.
Before then, under a “first of its kind” scheme being launched at the start of next month, Loganair aims to directly relate the cost of flying to its environmental impact.
A £1 “carbon offset charge” will be included in the ticket price for every passenger’s flight from July 1.
‘Modest’ extra charge
Mr Hinkles, Loganair’s chief executive, said it was preferable to the voluntary carbon offsetting system commonly used by many other airlines – where passengers have to opt-in by checking a box “hidden away” somewhere discretely in the booking process.
Loganair’s customers will be doing their bit for the environment at a “modest” sum of money, he said, adding that having everyone enrolled in the scheme would help to keep down its cost.
Loganair says cash raised will make the planet greener
Funds raised through the GreenSkies charge will be invested in projects around the world to remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere as is generated by Loganair flights.
These include initiatives such as reforestation and new wind farms to replace carbon-heavy coal and gas-fired power stations.
Later this year, Loganair will also establish a new fund to provide grants to help with the cost of establishing renewable energy projects in the communities that it serves.
Mr Hinkles said: “We are extremely proud to be the first UK regional airline to set ambitious goals for a carbon-neutral future.
“The entire transport industry has a huge task ahead to address and reduce emissions from every form of travel, and it’s our responsibility as the UK’s largest regional airline to lead the way.
“The technology required to deliver zero-carbon regional flights is still under development and testing today, and these are programmes in which we’re pleased to be taking an active role.
“Until they’re ready for use more widely though, we’ll be mitigating the carbon emissions from every Loganair flight through the new offset programme – and taking all of the steps that we safely and reasonably can to reduce those carbon emissions in the first place.”
Mr Hinkles added: “We think it’s right to ask our customers to join us on this journey to carbon neutrality, and the £1 GreenSkies charge within Loganair’s ticket prices means that we can immediately mitigate the impact of the carbon emissions from every flight.
“We want our customers to understand just how committed we are to highlighting the need to recognise the impact of each journey – and how a small change for all of us can quickly make a big difference overall.”
Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government looks forward to working with Loganair to deliver on our commitment of decarbonising scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040.
“Loganair’s involvement in the aircraft trials, taking place at the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment in Orkney, is also a great example of how our ownership of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd creates a unique opportunity for Scotland to lead the drive towards zero-emission aviation.”
Looking to the future of air travel
Loganair is the only UK regional airline invited to participate in the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council (JZC) initiative, launched by the prime minister last summer.
JZC aims to decarbonise flying and deliver net-zero transatlantic flight within a generation.
Loganair is also a partner in three projects to design, test and certificate new technology for use in the regional airline sector.
On the Road Again
Our second testbed aircraft, N337EE, is ready to ship to the UK for airline flight demonstrations. pic.twitter.com/9OX3YY5RtT
— Ampaire (@AmpaireInc) April 16, 2021
Flight trials for two of these initiatives – involving technology partners ZeroAvia and Ampaire, focused on hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft respectively – are scheduled for this summer in Orkney.
They will use the same routes as Loganair’s inter-isles air services, with a view to the technologies being introduced to commercial passenger operations within three to four years.