Dale Vince, a prominent figure in the green energy sector and the founder of Ecotricity, plans to establish Britain’s inaugural electric airline, Ecojet.
Ecojet is poised to revolutionize the aviation industry by becoming the first electric airline in the UK. With this ambitious project, Vince seeks to challenge the prevailing belief that decarbonizing one of the last frontiers is insurmountable. In an interview with The Guardian, he emphasized that living an eco-conscious life doesn’t entail forsaking the things we cherish but finding ways to embrace them while maintaining a net-zero carbon footprint.
During the initial phase, Ecojet will operate a fleet of green-striped 19-seater planes capable of covering up to 300 miles. However, Vince’s vision extends beyond the Edinburgh-Southampton route, as he aspires to expand Ecojet’s network to encompass significant cities throughout Britain. Ensuring environmental responsibility, the airline’s staff will don eco-friendly uniforms, and passengers will be served plant-based meals.
Following the initial launch, a second phase is planned for 18 months, introducing 70-seater planes capable of flying to European destinations. Ecojet is obtaining a license from the Civil Aviation Authority and securing landing and takeoff slots at airports.
Although Ecojet will initially operate using kerosene-based fuel, Vince acknowledges the apparent contradiction but emphasizes the need to promptly secure planes and landing slots to sustain the project’s momentum. The pragmatic approach involves retrofitting existing planes with new engines once they become available. This allows for the development of infrastructure and the swift commencement of operations.
The aviation industry is exploring diverse avenues for decarbonization, including electric flight and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). However, Vince dismisses SAF as “nonsense,” citing concerns over the insufficient land for cultivating the necessary crops. Instead, he favors hydrogen as a suitable solution for flight due to its lightweight properties and the justifiable energy investment required for its production.
Ecojet aims to compete with existing airlines by offering airfares on par with their counterparts, targeting a broad market beyond environmentally conscious consumers. Vince initially plans to vest £1 million in the project to raise further funds in the subsequent year. Despite the challenges inherent in launching a new airline, Vince remains resolute in demonstrating its viability and worth.
Despite his commitment to protecting the environment, Vince has refrained from air travel. However, once Ecojet takes flight, he intends to utilize his airline, embracing the opportunity to fly without leaving a carbon footprint.
In recent months, the Labour Party has faced criticism for accepting £1.5 million in donations from Vince over a decade. Additionally, Vince has significantly contributed to Just Stop Oil, highlighting his dedication to promoting sustainable alternatives.
Overall, the launch of Ecojet marks a significant milestone in the transition toward greener aviation, showcasing the feasibility and significance of decarbonization. The company’s unwavering determination to revolutionize offers hope for a future where flying can be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.