In a major step towards a sustainable aviation future, key players in the Australian aviation and green hydrogen industries have officially launched the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) at Brisbane Airport.
The alliance aims to position Australia as a leading player in the aviation industry’s transition towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Their primary objective is to enable Australia’s first commercial emission-free hydrogen-powered flight between Brisbane Airport and Gladstone Airport by 2026.
Skytrans Airlines, in collaboration with Stralis Aircraft, will operate this route using a 15-seat Stralis B1900D-HE aircraft specifically designed and built in Brisbane. The groundbreaking aircraft will emit only water vapour, marking a significant milestone in sustainable air travel.
Stralis Aircraft also plans to initiate flight testing of its hydrogen-electric-powered 6-seat Beechcraft Bonanza demonstrator aircraft in early 2024. These flights, which will take place in South East Queensland, will provide valuable real-world experience in operating and refuelling hydrogen aircraft for the alliance.
The Hydrogen Flight Alliance brings together leading Australian organizations dedicated to developing the necessary hydrogen flight ecosystem to support the operation of domestically manufactured, emission-free aircraft. Its formation sets out to establish a clean technology innovation hub in Queensland, creating world-class jobs, training programs, and emission-free aircraft manufacturing opportunities.
As Brisbane prepares for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be a climate-positive event, the HFA aims to realize the vision of transporting athletes across Queensland during the games using locally built, emission-free aircraft.
Green hydrogen holds immense potential for decarbonising air travel. However, challenges related to fuel availability at scale, future cost, and airport supply infrastructure must be overcome.
Commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft will undergo design, testing, and certification by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to ensure safety standards equivalent to conventional aircraft. To remain competitive in the global race to decarbonise, Australia requires strong government incentives comparable to initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, which have helped other countries build robust emission reduction technology industries.
“Queensland’s green hydrogen industry is the next frontier in a world hungry for renewables and is our greatest climate, jobs, and economic opportunity in a generation,” Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables, and Hydrogen, the Honourable Mick de Brenni MP, said.
“Green hydrogen will be a game-changer in decarbonizing heavy haulage, shipping, manufacturing, and aviation while also slashing emissions and helping tackle climate change.”
“Brisbane is the perfect testing ground for zero-emissions aircraft,” Raechel Paris, Executive General Manager, Governance & Sustainability at Brisbane Airport Corporation, said.
About the Hydrogen Flight Alliance Members
- Stralis Aircraft specializes in designing and manufacturing emission-free hydrogen-electric aircraft in Brisbane, Australia.
- Skytrans Airlines, part-owned by Former Queensland and Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston, is an Australian-owned and operated airline that provides RPT and charter services from Cairns, Horn Island, and Brisbane.
- Brisbane Airport Corporation is committed to creating a sustainable, world-leading airport and collaborating with partners across the aviation industry to protect the planet.
- Gladstone Airport Corporation delivers a world-class regional airport experience and fosters aviation growth for the benefit of the Gladstone Region.
- Aviation Australia is a world-class registered training organization and the only Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved training organization in Australia.
- BOC covers the entire hydrogen value chain, from generation and liquefaction to transportation, storage solutions, and hydrogen-powered vehicle refuelling.
- H2 Energy Company (h2ec) is dedicated to improving the future climate and delivering a cleaner future through comprehensive green hydrogen supply solutions.
- Griffith University, through its multidisciplinary Climate Ready Initiative, brings teaching, research, and policy expertise to the alliance, with a focus on climate change research and preparedness.
- Central Queensland University offers the Aviation for the Future program online, at Cairns Airport, and through flight school partners across Australia.