Air Liquide, Airbus, and Groupe ADP have signed an agreement to prepare for the advent of hydrogen in airports by 2035 as part of the development of hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft.

The partners will combine their experience to advance the aviation industry’s decarbonization efforts and to outline the specific demands and opportunities that hydrogen may bring to the aerospace sector. This collaboration represents the three parties’ joint desire to contribute to the development of a French sector that is innovative and strategic in its approach to attaining climate-neutral aviation on a global scale.

Airports will need to be altered to accommodate the arrival of the first hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035, in particular to accommodate the unique characteristics of liquid hydrogen supply. The cooperation formed today will focus on conducting feasibility studies to determine the feasibility of creating this infrastructure.

As a first step, a study will be conducted with a representative panel of approximately 30 airports worldwide to evaluate potential configurations for liquid hydrogen generation, supply, and distribution. The two major Paris airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, would thereafter be given detailed scenarios and plans. These scenarios will be critical in defining the necessary infrastructure, including its extent and location, as well as recognizing and incorporating the limits imposed by industrial and aviation safety regulations.

This alliance brings complementary knowledge together with the goal of accelerating the transformation of airports and laying the groundwork for a new age of sustainable air travel.

Matthieu Giard, Vice President, member of the Executive Committee, supervising Hydrogen activities, said: “Air Liquide recently announced ambitious commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We must act now, notably by accelerating the development of the hydrogen sector and preparing the future. To the aviation industry, Air Liquide brings its unique expertise in the hydrogen supply chain, in particular with regards to liquid hydrogen, which requires advanced mastery of extreme cryogenics. This partnership, led by three major players, reflects a shared desire to accelerate the energy transition and to build the future for a more sustainable aviation.”

Antoine Bouvier, Airbus Head of Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions and Public Affairs, added: “This partnership between an aircraft manufacturer, an airport authority and a hydrogen expert is an important and necessary step to prepare for the entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. By starting to introduce hydrogen at Paris airports now, we underscore the shared ambition of an entire ecosystem to make the decarbonization of the aviation sector possible and to achieve our emissions-reduction targets.”

And Edward Arkwright, Groupe ADP Deputy CEO, concluded: “With our partners, we are ready to launch feasibility studies to enable the gradual introduction of hydrogen at Paris airports. We must prepare – starting today – to welcome hydrogen aircraft by 2035 by transforming our airports into hydrogen hubs, which, along with other solutions, such as sustainable aviation fuel, will enable the decarbonization of air travel.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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