The initiative aims to better link rural Baltic regions with larger aviation hubs by deploying green hydrogen powered aircraft. It is part of the EU's "Baltic Sea Region Project" and will be financially supported by Brussels’ "Green Mobility" funding program. Official launch date is NOV23.
The project’s core mission is to carve out suitable supply chains for transporting green, gaseous hydrogen from production to airports at the three Baltic states for fueling aircraft operating there, including powering ground equipment based at the sites. Simultaneously, air operations shall be tested and routings optimized, reads the announcement.
Large number of participants
Almost all major operators running airports in Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia are part of the program, e.g. Finavia, Swedavia, Lithuanian Airports, Riga Airport, Tallinn Airport. In addition, several smaller airports in the Baltics have joined the bandwagon, too, as did a number of regional northern German Airports, including some airlines, local state authorities, and scientific institutions. Hamburg Airport has become the lead partner of the entire program.
Jan Eike Hardegen, Head of Environment at Hamburg Airport stated: “The primary goal of the initiated "Baltic Sea Region Project" is to power hydrogen-based air transport in the Baltic Sea region. H2 offers great potential for climate-neutral flights on short-haul routes [since] Gaseous hydrogen is the propulsion of the future, especially for smaller general aircraft, such as turboprops […] These aircraft can be used to connect more rural regions of the Baltic Sea countries according to demand.”
The project aims to clarify the prerequisites for an airport infrastructure that is geared towards H2-powered aircraft. At the end of the program, all airports should be in a position to invest and implement their hydrogen-based infrastructure projects on their own.
Michael Eggenschwiler, Chairman of the Executive Board at Hamburg Airport commented: "These are exciting days for the future of aviation […] It is no coincidence that Hamburg Airport is one of the drivers of innovation: as an airport, we have set ourselves the goal of reducing our CO2 emissions to zero by 2035 and completely foregoing compensation. So it is only logical that we also make a concrete commitment to an environmentally compatible future for aviation. As a hydrogen hub, we can contribute to this development very well."
H2 flights HAM-RTM intended
In this context, the executive recalled that a few days earlier plans were presented to establish an air link between the two port cities of Hamburg and Rotterdam operated with H2 powered aircraft. The MoU aims to explore the viability of a hydrogen flight route and to develop the ground infrastructure needed for steady operations. The first flight is scheduled to take off in 2026. Which aircraft will be used is not mentioned in the press release published by both airports.
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