Loganair plans first hydrogen-powered BN-2 Islander services for 2027

Scottish regional carrier Loganair, which is also the UK’s largest regional airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions which will see the company launch a trial of commercial hydrogen-electric air services in 2027.

The agreement will see Loganair become the world’s first operator of the so-called “Project Fresson” conversion which is currently being developed by Cranfield in order to retrofit existing BN-2 Islander aircraft to run on hydrogen power. Loganair aims for Net Zero across its operations by 2040, but aims to have inducted a trial BN-2 Islander to run inter-island routes from Kirkwall within three years, complementing its two existing aircraft.

Peter Simpson, Loganair’s Executive Chairman, said that, “The short-haul routes we operate in Orkney and the challenging weather conditions we face make the ideal test bed for hydrogen-electric aircraft, and we are incredibly proud that we could be offering the world’s first commercial zero emissions flights.”

Cotswolds-based ZeroAvia is also developing hydrogen-electric powerplants. Photo: ZeroAvia

The Chief Executive of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, Paul Hutton, said, “Collaborating closely with Loganair, we aim to harness our combined experience and expertise to address the operational and infrastructure considerations, ultimately ensuring the successful deployment of the hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander across Loganair’s lifeline routes within the islands.”

Loganair and CAeS have set the target of the first aircraft taking flight in Kirkwall by 2027 post certification in 2026 whilst Ecojet, which is also based in Scotland, aims to have conducted its first hydrogen-powered flight in 2025 using a ZeroAvia powerplant developed at Cotswold Airport, which is expected to receive CAA certification in the same year.