Scottish regional airline Loganair and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of bringing Britten Norman Islander hydrogen-electric flights to the Orkney region by 2027.

Loganair has supported CAeS’ Project Fresson since its inception, but this new MoU further solidifies an increased level of collaboration and sharing of expertise between the two companies.

This partnership aims to introduce the world’s first fully operational hydrogen-electric BN-2 Islander in the Kirkwall region of Orkney. The targeted date for certification of the modified aircraft is 2026.

Loganair is also driven by its own commitment to sustainability, setting out the goal to achieve Net Zero across its entire operations by 2040. This MoU with CAeS further underlines the operators’ proactive approach towards implementing sustainable aviation.

The proposed merger between Cranfield Aerospace and Britten-Norman is still paused, with the main overarching goal being to work on Project Fresson and bring it successfully to certification by 2026. CAeS is continuing to develop a proprietary hydrogen-fuel cell propulsion system, initially tailored for the BN-2 Islander.

Paul Hutton, CEO of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, said that the MoU marked “a significant stride toward achieving zero emission flight in the Orkney Islands”.

He added: “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.” 

Peter Simpson, Executive Chairman of Loganair, commented: “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.” 

Image credit: Loganair/Cranfield Aerospace Solutions