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Hydrogen Flight Alliance launches in Brisbane

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Airport News, Hydrogen

Hydrogen Flight Alliance

Accelerating Australia aviation towards an emission free future

Key players in the Australian aviation and green hydrogen industries have officially launched the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) today at Brisbane Airport. The aim of the alliance is to ensure Australia plays a leading role in the aviation industry’s transition towards net-zero by 2050.

The initial focus will be on enabling Australia’s first commercial emission free hydrogen powered flight between Brisbane Airport and Gladstone Airport in 2026. This route will be operated by Skytrans Airlines using a 15 seat Stralis B1900D-HE aircraft, designed and built in Brisbane. The only emissions from the tailpipe of this aircraft will be water vapour. Both cities already have significant green hydrogen developments underway, making them ideal locations to launch the first hydrogen electric aircraft routes in Australia.

The newly formed alliance brings together leading Australian organisations to develop the hydrogen flight ecosystem required to enable operation of new Australian made emission free aircraft. HFA members include:

  • Stralis Aircraft
  • Skytrans Airlines
  • Brisbane Airport
  • Gladstone Airport
  • Aviation Australia
  • BOC
  • H2 Energy Company (h2ec)
  • Griffith University
  • Central Queensland University

Stralis Aircraft will begin flight testing their hydrogen electric powered 6 seat Beechcraft Bonanza demonstrator aircraft in early 2024. These flights will occur in South East Queensland, allowing the alliance to gain real world experience operating and refuelling hydrogen aircraft.
Brisbane is planning for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be a climate positive event. The HFA is working to enable the vision of athletes being flown around Queensland during the games on locally built emission free aircraft.
Green hydrogen has the potential to contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of air travel. However, challenges around the fuel’s availability at scale, future cost and airport supply infrastructure need to be solved. Consortiums like the HFA bring together the diverse mix of expertise required to make progress in these areas.
Formation of this alliance will establish a clean technology innovation hub in Queensland, generating world class jobs, training programs and emission free aircraft manufacturing. Australia is an ideal location to trial hydrogen flight, due to its abundance of renewable energy and developing green hydrogen industry.
Commercial hydrogen electric aircraft will be designed, tested and certified with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to the same level of safety as conventional aircraft.
Strong government incentives around the globe, such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the USA, are helping countries build strong emission reduction technology industries. Similar incentives are needed for Australia to remain competitive in the race to decarbonise.

Hydrogen Flight Alliance member Quotes

Bob Criner, Co-Founder & CEO of Stralis Aircraft stated:
“The HFA allows us to answer the most common question we hear from airline customers, which is how they will access affordable green hydrogen at airports in future. This is not a problem we can solve on our own, it requires industry collaboration.”

Skytrans – which is part-owned by Former Queensland and Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston, is proud to be part of an Australian collaboration pioneering hydrogen propulsion technology for commercial aircraft. Chief Executive Officer Alan Milne said:
“We are proud to be leading the nation in developing its hydrogen industry and we want to play a leading role in showing that this technology can work in aviation.”

Raechel Paris, Executive General Manager, Governance & Sustainability at Brisbane Airport Corporation says:
“Brisbane Airport supports the ambition of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) to decarbonise aviation with innovative technologies like hydrogen electric flight. With Queensland home to the largest number of regional flights in Australia, Brisbane is the perfect testing ground for zero emissions aircraft.”

Mark Cachia, CEO of Gladstone Airport Corporation said:
“Another great milestone in aviation with the first emission free electric aircraft, operating between Brisbane and Gladstone, by Skytrans. Gladstone is destined to become the world’s leading hydrogen hub, so what better place to fly to.”

Chris Dolman, Business Development Manager for Clean Hydrogen at BOC stated:
“As we transition to a greener economy, hydrogen is set to play an increasingly important role. It is an ideal way to store energy generated from renewable and primary sources. And when generated from regenerative sources, it creates a zero-emissions energy cycle.”

Aaron Smith, CEO of h2ec said:
“H2 Energy Company is very excited to be playing a key role in the advancement of hydrogen electric flight technology in Australia, as the aviation industry faces a projected increase in carbon emissions. Renewable green hydrogen supplied from our
strategically located production facilities, in combination with hydrogen aviation technologies, has the potential to reduce emissions from aircraft by 100%.”

Dr. Emma Whittlesea, Associate Executive Director of The Climate Ready Initiative at Griffith University says:
“Griffith University through its multidisciplinary Climate Ready Initiative, Griffith Aviation, and Centre for Applied Energy Economics and Policy Research brings teaching, research and policy capability and expertise to the alliance, and are particularly interested in progressing the action learning and applied research opportunity in collaboration with project partners and other stakeholders.

Steve Hall, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at CQU stated:
“It’s great to be part of the team showing this to our maintenance engineers, pilots and aviation industry managers of the future”.


Hydrogen Flight Alliance Member Summaries

  • Stralis Aircraft makes emission free hydrogen electric aircraft, designed and manufactured in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Skytrans is an Australian owned and operated airline that operates RPT and charter services from Cairns, Horn Island, and Brisbane.
  • Brisbane Airport is committed to creating a sustainable, world-leading airport that takes the challenges of decarbonising air travel seriously as we collaborate with partners across the aviation industry to better protect the planet.
  • Gladstone Airport delivers a world-class regional airport experience and fosters the growth of aviation for the benefit of the Gladstone Region.
  • Aviation Australia is a world-class registered training organisation and the only Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved training organisation in Australia.
  • BOC covers the entire hydrogen value chain – from generation and liquefaction through to transportation and storage solutions right up to fuelling of hydrogen-powered vehicles. BOC is paving the way for a greener future.
  • h2ec is committed to improving the future climate, contributing positively to a decarbonised economy and delivering a cleaner future for generations to come. Our approach is both independent and integrated, offering comprehensive solutions for green hydrogen supply, from demonstrations and trials to commercial operations.
  • Griffith University’s teaching and research prioritises innovation and social impact. We have a longstanding history working in climate change research and preparedness and have the largest aviation university unit in Australia with over 800 students engaged in aviation engineering, operations, pilot training and aviation management.
  • Central Queensland University runs the Aviation for the Future program online, at Cairns Airport and with flight school partners around Australia.