Major Canadian Airports Collaborate with Airbus and ZeroAvia on Hydrogen Infrastructure Feasibility Study

In a strategic initiative towards hydrogen-powered aviation, Airbus and ZeroAvia have entered into Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. This collaboration announced at the International Aerospace Innovation Forum, aims to assess the feasibility of integrating hydrogen infrastructure at these key Canadian airports.

The project represents the first comprehensive feasibility study of its kind in Canada, targeting the use of hydrogen to support the decarbonisation of the aviation industry. This initiative aligns with global objectives set by organisations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Given Canada’s extensive geography, air transport is a critical component of the national economy, facilitating the movement of goods, investments, people, and ideas. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts a 51% growth in air transport in Canada over the next 20 years, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to accommodate this expansion.

The collaboration aims to provide insights into hydrogen-powered aircraft concepts, operational requirements, and the necessary infrastructure for supply and refuelling. Additionally, it will support the development of regulations and standards, leveraging Montreal’s status as the home city of the ICAO.

Karine Guenan, Vice-President of ZEROe Ecosystem at Airbus, noted Canada’s potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric power. “Hydrogen stands out as a key enabler as we pioneer a sustainable aviation future,” Guenan stated, emphasising the strategic importance of these partnerships in Airbus’s global sustainability agenda.

Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, highlighted the importance of preparing the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen aviation. “We need to start working hard to prepare for the hydrogen infrastructure needed to support the aviation industry and airports as they step into a new era of clean flight,” Miftakhov said.

Leaders from the participating airports have expressed their commitment to this sustainable transition. Yves Beauchamp of ADM Aéroports de Montréal, Deborah Flint of Toronto Pearson, and Tamara Vrooman of Vancouver International Airport all emphasised their organisations’ dedication to reducing carbon emissions and fostering innovative, eco-friendly operations.

Airbus’s unveiling of the first ZEROe concept aircraft in 2020 marked a significant milestone, with the ambition to introduce hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035. Establishing the “Hydrogen Hub at Airports” programme further demonstrates Airbus’s commitment to researching and developing the infrastructure needed for global low-carbon airport operations. ZeroAvia, meanwhile, continues to advance hydrogen propulsion technology and the development of a supporting hydrogen fuel ecosystem.

This collaboration among Airbus, ZeroAvia, and Canada’s leading airports represents a significant step in the effort to decarbonise the aviation industry. It aims to set a precedent for future global initiatives in sustainable air travel.

Image: Airbus