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Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft at Airports: A Review of the Infrastructure Requirements and Planning Challenges


Hydrogen-fueled aircraft are a promising innovation for a sustainable future in aviation. While hydrogen aircraft design has been widely studied, research on airport requirements for new infrastructure associated with hydrogen-fueled aircraft and its integration with existing facilities is scarce. This study analyzes the current body of knowledge and identifies the planning challenges which need to be overcome to enable the operation of hydrogen flights at airports. An investigation of the preparation of seven major international airports for hydrogen-powered flights finds that, although there is commitment, airports are not currently prepared for hydrogen-based flights. Major adjustments are required across airport sites, covering land use plans, airside development, utility infrastructure development, and safety, security, and training. Developments are also required across the wider aviation industry, including equipment updates, such as for refueling and ground support, and supportive policy and regulations for hydrogen-powered aircraft. The next 5–10 years is identified from the review as a critical time period for airports, given that the first commercial hydrogen-powered flight is likely to depart in 2026 and that the next generation of short-range hydrogen-powered aircraft is predicted to enter service between 2030 and 2035.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Australia ; United States

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