Airbus company is planning the first hybrid-electric airliner


The European planemaker estimated that the revolutionary propulsion system will be ready for roll-out on an all-new single-aisle jet around 2035. The company has been already public about its interest in hybrid engines. Airbus would start with a smaller single-aisle and work its way up to a size comparable to the A321neo which seats as many 240 people. The aircraft would operate at slightly lower speeds, adding, for example, about 30 minutes to a typical flight within Europe. Airbus is still pursuing a conventional replacement for its A320 family with higher bypass ratios to get to the 20% boost to fuel efficiency needed to justify an all-new aircraft.


The company has targeted reducing CO2 emissions by 75% by 2050. Airbus has been working with Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and Siemens AG on developing a hybrid engine, though that powerplant, due to be tested in the next two years. Timelines aren’t certain and will shift as different capabilities evolve. “For short range, there are many many different options. We’re not alone, we have to keep an eye on what the competitors are doing,” Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini said in a recent interview.


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