Government’s Jet Zero Council to deliver carbon-free flight

Cranfield first hydrogen flight

A pioneering partnership between government and the aviation sector to fast-track zero-emission flight has taken its next step forward.

The Jet Zero Council (JZC), launched earlier this year, is a partnership between industry and government to bring together ministers and chief executive officer-level stakeholders to drive an ambitious delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions

Following the first meeting of the group earlier in the summer, its members have now been announced (see below*), along with the group’s terms of reference. Representatives from the UK’s leading aerospace, aviation and technology sectors will work with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Aviation Minister Robert Courts and Business Secretary Alok Sharma to drive forward the government’s ambitions for clean aviation.

Industry leaders from Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell, along with representatives from some of Britain’s top aviation, tech, non-governmental organisation (NGO) and investor groups, including John Holland-Kaye (Heathrow) and Alex Cruz (IAG), will work with government to develop UK production facilities for sustainable aviation fuels and the acceleration the design, manufacture and commercial operation of zero-emission aircraft in the UK, helping speed the sector towards a low-carbon future.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by modern society, and we know we need to go further and faster if we’re to make businesses sustainable long into the future.

“That’s why we’re bringing together government, business and investors to reduce emissions in the aviation sector – through innovative technologies, such as sustainable fuels, hybrid and eventually electric planes.”

The counci will focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and delivering clean growth. It will operate in the context of the UK’s wider target for net zero emissions by 2050.

The partnership will leverage the UK’s substantial aviation sector, which employs 230,000 people in the UK and contributes £33 billion to the UK economy, to effectively tackle emissions while encouraging growth and green innovation. Through this partnership, the UK will go further than ever before in developing the first zero-emission transatlantic passenger aircraft.

The publication of the group’s aims coincided with the Aviation Minister’s visit to Cranfield to witness the world’s first hydrogen-electric passenger plane flight.

ZeroAvia, a leading innovator in decarbonising commercial aviation, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, completed the flight at the company’s research and development (R&D) facility in Cranfield, England, with the Piper M-class 6-seat plane completing taxi, take-off, a full pattern circuit and landing.

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK is unrelenting in its commitment to ensuring a cleaner world for future generations by achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – and making air travel greener will be a huge part of this.

This ambitious council will see the government working in tandem with key players from across aviation, aerospace and wider to develop innovations that will catapult aviation to a low-carbon future.”

ZeroAvia has also worked with EMEC to develop a Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cranfield Airport – a microcosm of what the hydrogen airport ecosystem will look like in terms of green hydrogen production, storage, refuelling and fuel cell powered-flight. This also marks another world’s first – a fully operational hydrogen production and refueling airport facility for primary commercial aircraft propulsion.

The full list members of the Jet Zero Council (JZC):

  • Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
  • Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
  • Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce
  • Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice President, Airbus
  • Tony Wood, Chief Executive Officer, of Coventry-based Meggitt and ADS President
  • Russ Dunn, Chief Technology Officer, Redditch-based GKN
  • Val Miftakhov, Chief Executive Officer, Cranfield-basec ZeroAvia
  • Peter Mather, Senior Vice President, Europe and Head of Country, UK, bp plc
  • Anna Mascolo, Chief Executive Officer, Shell Global Aviation
  • Neville Hargreaves, Vice President, Waste to Fuels, Oxford-based Velocys
  • Nina Skorupska CBE REA, The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology
  • Dr Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer, Lanzatech
  • Alex Cruz, Chief Executive Officer, British Airways
  • Shai Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic
  • Johan Lundgren, Chief Executive Officer, easyjet
  • Jonathan Hinkles, Chief Executive Officer, LoganAir
  • Kenton Jarvis, Chief Executive Officer Aviation and Business Improvements Director, TUI
  • John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, Heathrow
  • Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive Officer, MAG
  • Dom Hallas, Executive Director, Coadec
  • Jacqueline de Rojas, President, Tech UK
  • Simon Crabtree, Investment Manager, Henley-in-Arden headquartered Mercia Asset Management
  • Tim Johnson, Director, AEF
  • Gary Elliot, Aerospace Technology Institute
  • Dr Alicia Greated, Chief Executive Officer, Knowledge Transfer Network
  • Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace, Cranfield University
  • Professor Peter Littlewood, Executive Chairman, Oxford-based Faraday Institution
  • Kyle Martin, Vice President, European Affairs, GAMA The General Aviuation Manufacturers Association
  • Trevor Woods, independent consultant