All-electric planes for flights to the Island?

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Last September the airline began working with Los Angeles-based company Wright Electric on the technology required to power aircraft using only electricity.

The company has announced that it expects the first trial flights of a hybrid jet fuel-electric aircraft to begin this year and has set a target of operating the first fully electric commercial flight within ten years.

And it says that Jersey could be one of the first destinations served by a fully electric aircraft because of the short length of flights to the Island from the UK.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK country manager, said that although the project was still in its very early stages the company was keen to stick to its goal.

‘We are working with Wright Electrical and have set a target of operating the first all-electric commercial flight within ten years.

‘I think, given where we think the capability of those aircraft will be in that timescale, it might be working within shorter sectors, around 200 miles. Jersey would fall into that category.

‘It is still very much in its infancy. I think we announced that back in summer last year around September time.’

Meanwhile, Mrs Gayward – who yesterday called on Jersey to make sure it has enough hotel beds to make it commercially viable for airlines to extend routes – added that the airline was introducing a new range of quieter aircraft which would lead to Islanders experiencing less noise disruption when easyJet planes took off and landed in Jersey.

‘We are just bringing into our fleet the new Airbus A320 and A321 NEO aircraft, and I think for an island like Jersey the impact for those is really significant,’ she said.

‘You have got 50 per cent fewer emissions, 15 per cent less fuel burn, but most importantly just over 50 per cent less noise on take-off and landing.

‘When you look at some of the approach and departure routes that we take here in Jersey that will have a massive impact.’

Mrs Gayward added that four of the newer 186-seat A320 NEO aircraft had already been delivered to the company and would eventually become a common sight in the Island.

‘We have got 100 of the A320s and 30 of the slightly larger A321s on order. The majority of them should be delivered in the next 14 to 18 months.

‘The plan with the NEO aircraft is not just to grow the fleet but also replace existing aircraft with them, so increasingly you will start to see the NEOs coming in.’

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