Air Baltic is to explore the potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft within its operation through a newly minted agreement with aircraft developer Fokker Next Gen.

Through the memorandum of understanding, the Latvian carrier will also provide operational insights to Fokker Next Gen as it works on the development of a liquid hydrogen combustion-powered jet.


Source: Fokker Next Gen

Clean-sheet hydrogen-powered aircraft is slated for certification in 2035

Hoofddorp-based Fokker Next Gen plans to assemble its future aircraft in both the Netherlands and Latvia.

“Air Baltic is glad to see such innovative developments being worked on in the Baltic region. We are a proud operator of one of the youngest aircraft fleets in Europe and are committed to the industry-wide decarbonisation initiatives,” says chief executive Martin Gauss.

“However, we also do understand that the aviation industry needs a joint effort in new technology developments in order to achieve its long-term commitments.”

Fokker Next Gen hopes to gain certification for its clean-sheet design by 2035. It intends to develop a 120-150-seater capable of flying routes of up to 1,350nm (2,500km).

That aircraft will be fitted with two separate fuel systems to allow it to run on regular jet fuel or sustainable aviation fuel when hydrogen is not available.

As an initial step, it will convert a Fokker 100 regional jet to run on liquid hydrogen, which it hopes to fly by 2028.

In addition, the company is working as part of a Rolls-Royce-led consortium to develop hydrogen-combustion technologies, including dual-fuel combustion systems.

Fokker Next Gen is owned by Panta Holdings, a Dutch company that has also invested in electric aircraft developer Elysian Aircraft.