Green energy advocate plans new UK regional airline, appoints former Air Southwest CEO

Ecojet, launched by Dale Vince, a climate activist and prominent businessman whose net worth is reported to be £100 million, has taken steps closer to launch in announcing its initial routes and management team. The Edinburgh-based regional carrier, which Vince described as “the biggest revolution in the aviation industry since the invention of the jet engine,” has provided an early 2024 launch with its first flight to link its base with Southampton.

Fresh Aviation has discovered that the airline has appointed Peter Davies, the former Chief Executive of now-defunct Bristol operator Air Southwest which was based at the airport with services to the likes of Manchester, Plymouth, and Norwich. Mr. Davies has since headed teams at Air Malta and the Airline Management Group. The carrier has also appointed DHC-8 specialist Altsel Aviation to manage the type’s induction, with its founder Brent Smith forming part of its Board.

Ecojet plans to eliminate single-use plastics from its services, and will also serve plant-based meals and provide crew with sustainable uniforms. The airline will, however, begin operations with traditionally-fueled aircraft rather than its much-touted future electric fleet in order to receive more rapid certification from the CAA for both its operating licences and later airport slots. These first aircraft will reportedly be the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, followed by the DHC-8-400 in a second phase of launch.

Ecojet plans to operate a fleet of 70-seat Q400s. Photo: Ecojet

Ecojet is styled as the “flag carrier for green Britain”, with its founder having told the Guardian that, “We want to prove that one of the last frontiers [of decarbonisation] can be broken and that it’s not insolvable. A lot of people seem to think that people who are eco-conscious want everyone to live a life of self-denial in a cave. Green living is not about giving things up – everything we like to have in this life can be done in a net zero life.”

It is not yet clear where the carrier will source its future electric powerplants from, though both ZeroAvia and Universal Hydrogen have recently performed test flights with such equipment on aircraft types including the Dornier 228 and Dash 8.