UK budget airline EasyJet has unveiled plans to develop an electric plane capable of taking us to the skies using zero jet fuel.
Setting out its prototype on Wednesday, the company hopes to create a battery-powered engine with a range of 335 miles – a distance that'll allow the planes to fly from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
While the first electric planes will only be used for short-haul flights, the destinations offered will cover around a fifth of EasyJet's most frequently taken journeys.
Teaming up with US aircraft designer Wright Electric, EasyJet hopes to offer flights under two hours on these electric planes within the next ten years. Wright Electric aims to go one step further and make all flights petroleum-free by the year 2037.
But further to drastically cutting emissions, the planes are also expected to be around 50% quieter and potentially around 10% cheaper. As Carolyn McCall, easyJet's chief executive, said of the news:
"For the first time in my career I can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it. It is now more a matter of when, not if, a short-haul electric plane will fly."
A massive leap for the aerospace industry
The news presents a huge step forward for the aeronautical industry, currently very dependent on petrol. In fact, the instability of petrol prices often puts airline companies in very uncomfortable economic situations, which is only now pushing them to find more sustainable solutions.
Earlier this year, Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific already announced it would be using biofuels for its long-haul flights starting in 2019.
EasyJet has lowered its CO2 emissions by a third over the past sixteen years. The company is also investing in A320neo planes which emit half the emissions of regular planes during takeoff and landing.
Looks like the future of air travel might just be safe after all!