EasyJet planning plug-in hybrid planes for Amsterdam-London routes

EasyJet want to use plug-in hybrid planes on its routes between Amsterdam and various London airports within the next ten years. To achieve this, the British budget airline teamed up with Airbus and specialist Wright Electric to design a hybrid plain with space for 150 passengers, Dutch director William Vet confirmed to the Telegraaf.

The plan is to use this completely new semi-electric plane from around 2030. "We will also taxi electrically. That makes a big difference at Schiphol, if we land on the distant Polderbaan", Vet said to the newspaper. It takes around 15 minutes to taxi from the Polderbaan to where passengers can disembark. 

According to Vet, EasyJet wants to make Schiphol at testing ground for electric lying. "We are working with Wright Electric on the development of the electric engine." A prototype with room for nine passengers will soon be built.

The D66 and Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure want the Netherlands to become a front-runner in electric air travel. But fully electric flying is currently not feasible for large passenger planes, because current technology makes enough battery capacity impossible, experts Joris Melkert from TU Delft and Martin Nagelsmit of the Netherlands' aerospace center NLR said to the Telegraaf. They think the future lies in hybrids that fly and taxi partly electrically, and partly on kerosene or biofuel. 

All aircraft builders are currently working on new designs that should enable semi-electric flying for planes that can carry up to 20 passengers within a few years. Electric planes that can carry more passengers will likely only become feasible for short flights after 2030, according to Melkert. "Until then we have to work with more efficient flying through more direct routes, optimal arrival and departure routes and reducing the inconvenience to residents around airports."

For KLM, emission-free planes are currently an interesting but not feasible option, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "There are promising initiatives worldwide. KLM welcomes this and would like to fly electrically. We are following developments closely, advised by partners such as TU Delft, who analyze alternative technology for electric aviation."