Milestone Delivery Report lists critical next steps for UK to be leader in global hydrogen aviation race

  • The Hydrogen in Aviation alliance is calling for a comprehensive industrial strategy for aviation to ensure the UK is a global leader in the development of hydrogen aviation
  • The report sets out how to ensure the country has the right conditions for the technological development, regulation, infrastructure, financial framework and hydrogen supply that will be needed for hydrogen aviation
  • HIA’s ultimate goal is to ensure hydrogen-powered flights become a reality to help preserve the huge social and economic benefits that aviation brings
  • The Alliance, formed of major players across the aviation, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors, see hydrogen as one of the key tools for the decarbonisation of aviation, and key to creating new jobs and supporting the sector’s long term sustainable future

The Hydrogen in Aviation alliance (HIA), formed of easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace, Bristol Airport and ZeroAvia, has today released its Milestone Delivery Report – outlining the steps and timeline the UK Government and industry needs to follow to secure its position as a global leader in hydrogen-powered aviation.

The UK is home to many world-first advances in hydrogen-powered aircraft technology, from hydrogen engine testing to the first flights of hydrogen-fuelled planes – making it well placed to be a leader in hydrogen aviation. This would secure substantial economic, employment and sustainability benefits. To realise these benefits we need an industrial strategy for the sector focussed on these long term opportunities.

The UK will need to secure massive increases in hydrogen supply. This will involve the accelerated deployment of renewable and low carbon energy generation and significant investment in hydrogen infrastructure and skills.

In order to achieve this, HIA’s new Milestone Delivery Report – which has been shaped by accurate aviation demand figures and other critical industry data – outlines specific steps that need to be taken by industry, government and regulators to equip the UK with everything it needs to be a leader in the field of hydrogen-powered aviation.

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and first Chair of HIA, said:
“It’s without doubt that the UK is well placed to be a global leader in hydrogen – but the opportunity will be gone if we do not act now to build on all the great work that has already been done.

“The breakthroughs in hydrogen-powered technology happening across the UK are truly astonishing but these advances will be inconsequential if we fail to complement them with the appropriate skills, infrastructure, investment and regulation needed to support hydrogen aviation.

“HIA’s Milestone Delivery Report outlines the critical steps and the timeframe needed to do this and if followed, not only will it create significant wealth, jobs and prosperity across industry and across the UK, it will be a vital component in decarbonising the aviation sector.”

Mark Bentall, Head of Research & Technology at Airbus, said:
“Technology is already unlocking the potential of hydrogen as a new fuel and Airbus is firmly focused on getting a hydrogen powered aircraft in the air by 2035. Beyond the aircraft, we have to prepare people, policy and infrastructure to build a world-leading hydrogen aviation economy in the UK. This report gives us the blueprint for making it happen, so now is the time to follow through.”

Dave Lees, CEO of Bristol Airport, said:
“Having hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at airports, operated by a skilled workforce, is critical to the success of zero emissions flight. Leaders such as Bristol Airport stand ready to work with industry, government, and regulators to begin the first commercial hydrogen flights within this decade. We can play our part to support the UK to seize the economic and social opportunities of zero emission flight.”

Russ Dunn, CTO of GKN Aerospace, said:
“This report sets the direction for a very exciting carbon-free future of flight.  At GKN Aerospace we are committed to making this a reality through our world-leading technology and partnerships across industry, academia and government. The UK now needs to commit to this at a national level – to truly coordinate efforts and seize the opportunity that is in front of us. Now is the time to prepare for and enable the huge sustainability and economic potential of hydrogen for both the aviation industry and wider economy.”

Robert Duncalf, Head of Commercial P2X at Ørsted, said:
“Across a number of sectors, including aviation, de-fossilisation will only be achieved through innovation and focussed investment from industry and government. The potential for use of green hydrogen produced through renewable energy in the sector is clear, but there are many challenges ahead. What we need to see now is further collaborative action to ensure sustained momentum to overcome these challenges and take the UK hydrogen journey to the next stage.”  

Alan Newby, Director of Research and Technology, Rolls-Royce, said:
“We believe in the potential of hydrogen-powered flight, and we are making good progress in developing the key technology building blocks required to make it a reality. This is an ambitious but necessary challenge, and we look forward to further accelerating progress across the entire hydrogen ecosystem with our industry partners and the UK government to achieve our shared vision of a more sustainable future for aviation.”

Sergey Kiselev, Chief Business Officer, ZeroAvia said:
“This report is a real testament to cross-industry efforts to set a practical pathway to adopting hydrogen as the fuel of the future for aviation. Hydrogen-powered aircraft will be flying commercially in the UK within the next few years, meaning that there will be a clear roadmap needed to scale the fuel supply as it grows into larger aircraft segments. Hydrogen in Aviation is a powerful coalition for driving this change in partnership with the Government.”

The six key recommendations outlined by HIA in its milestone delivery report, include:

  1. Hydrogen-ready technology research and development: HIA recommends that measures are taken to support the transition from research to development, and ultimately industrialisation, of world leading propulsion and flight technologies in the UK. See more information in Chapter 1 of HIA’s milestone delivery report (p.9 onwards)
  1. A hydrogen-ready CAA: HIA recommends that the CAA is appropriately resourced and funded with the capacity to lead on certification, standard-setting, and new regulation – working in co-ordination with other relevant bodies and the academic community to support a hydrogen-ready future. See more information in Chapter 1 of HIA’s milestone delivery report (pp. 13-14)
  1. Hydrogen-ready airports: HIA recommends building a well-developed network of hydrogen-ready airports both in the UK and overseas. See more information in Chapter 3 of HIA’s milestone delivery report (p. 23 onwards)
  1. Transition fund and incentives: HIA recommends the government provide the necessary support and incentives needed to get the sector over the hurdle of transition costs and investment in new infrastructure. See more information in Chapter 4 of HIA’s milestone delivery report (pp. 34-35)
  1. Plan to deliver aviation’s hydrogen requirements: Given the significant rise in demand for hydrogen that’s expected over the next several decades, HIA recommends scaling up both hydrogen production capacity as well as renewable power, carbon capture and low carbon hydrogen generation to ensure the UK can secure sufficient hydrogen for all sectors that need to decarbonise, including aviation. See more information in Chapter 2 of HIA’s milestone delivery report (p. 16 onwards)
  1. A hydrogen-ready skillforce: HIA recommends government and industry work together to equip the UK’s workforce with the appropriate skills and ensure industry-readiness to support the transition to this new technology. See more information in Chapter 1  (p. 15) and Chapter 4 (pp. 35-36) of HIA’s milestone delivery report

Delivering net zero, securing and creating jobs for the future:

The aviation sector is incredibly valuable to the UK’s economy, bringing in more than £22bn directly to GDP, plus £34bn from exporting aerospace components. It also directly employs over 230,000 people.

HIA believes hydrogen will be critical in securing these jobs into the future as zero-emission technology develops, and this will bring immense value to regions all over the UK.

East Midlands Hydrogen, the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster estimates its future hydrogen network could support up to 110,000 jobs in just the East Midlands alone – showing the potential that hydrogen has in terms of job creation.

As well as preserving an industry that is a key part of our economy, HIA maintains hydrogen could generate an additional £34bn for the UK every year.

For further information or additional requests, please contact For Airbus specific enquiries please contact

Notes to editors:

About HIA members:

About Airbus

Airbus pioneers sustainable aerospace for a safe and united world. Its innovative products and services connect people and places, protect citizens and vital assets, and are helping to lead the journey towards decarbonising  aerospace. In commercial aircraft, Airbus designs and manufactures modern and fuel-efficient airplanes and associated services. Airbus is a European leader in space systems, defence and security. In helicopters, Airbus provides civil and military rotorcraft solutions and services worldwide. Airbus has built on its strong European heritage to become truly international – with around 145,000 employees in roughly 180 locations and relying on more than 18,000 direct suppliers globally. The Company has aircraft and helicopter final assembly lines in Europe, Asia and the Americas.


About Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport is England’s third largest airport outside of London, connecting our region with more than 120 destinations, including vital economic links to European cities and parts of the UK that cannot be easily reached by train. We were the first UK airport to set a target to achieve net zero airport operations by 2030 and the first to set an interim carbon target for our operations. Bristol Airport are committed to being a leading player in facilitating zero carbon flight and will continue to build on our connections within the South West’s world-leading aerospace hub and centre for research and excellence.


About easyJet

easyJet is Europe’s leading airline offering a unique and winning combination of the best route network connecting Europe’s primary airports with great value fares and friendly service.

easyJet flies on more of Europe’s most popular routes than any other airline and carried more than 82 million passengers in 2023 with more than 11.3 million travelling for business. The airline has over 300 aircraft flying on nearly 1000 routes to more than 155 airports across 35 countries. Over 300 million Europeans live within one hour’s drive of an easyJet airport.

easyJet aims to be a good corporate citizen, employing people on local contracts in eight countries across Europe in full compliance with national laws and recognising their trade unions. The airline supports several local charities and has a corporate partnership with UNICEF which has raised nearly £17m for the most vulnerable children since it was established in 2012.

In 2022, easyJet published its roadmap to net zero by 2050. The roadmap, which also features a combination of fleet renewal, operational efficiencies, airspace modernisation, Sustainable Aviation Fuel and carbon removal technology, has set an ambitious interim carbon emissions intensity reduction target of 35% by 2035, validated by the Science-based targets initiative (SBTi). The airline’s ultimate aim is to fully transition its fleet to zero carbon emission technology, which it will achieve through a number of strategic partnerships including with Airbus, Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace Solutions. Since 2000, the airline has successfully reduced its carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre by one-third.

Innovation is in easyJet’s DNA – since launching nearly 30 years ago, easyJet changed the way people fly to the present day where the airline leads the industry in digital and operational innovations to make travel more easy and affordable for its passengers.

In 2023 easyJet was named by TIME as one of the World’s Best Companies and a Leader in Diversity 2024 by The Financial Times.


About GKN Aerospace

GKN Aerospace is the original aerospace innovator with a mission to be the most trusted and sustainable partner in the sky. For decades, GKN Aerospace technologies have inspired and industrialized the aerospace industry, combining engineering excellence and technology leadership.

With revenue of £3.35bn we are a FTSE 50 company, listed under our parent company Melrose (MRO). GKN Aerospace is truly global, with 16,000 employees in 33 manufacturing locations in 12 countries around the world. All major aircraft and engine manufacturers rely on our advanced technologies. Our aerostructures, engine systems and special technologies improve the performance of more than 100,000 flights every day.

By working closely together with universities, knowledge institutes, suppliers and customers, we lead the industry in developing new technology to improve aircraft efficiency: lowering aircraft cost, weight and emissions.

For the past two decades, we have set the standard in additive manufacturing (AM) for the aerospace industry and are currently at the cutting-edge of technology leadership worldwide. Today, GKN Aerospace has five global centres of excellence that enable the most advanced aircraft to take to the sky with ground-breaking AM components. We are also industry-leading in the development of hydrogen propulsion, through multiple projects and partnerships such as H2GEAR, HyFIVE, Safe Flight, SWITCH and H2JET.


About Ørsted
The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants.

Ørsted is recognised on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action and was the first energy company in the world to have its science-based net-zero emissions target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs approx. 8,700 people. Ørsted’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2022, the group’s revenue was DKK 132.3 billion (EUR 17.8 billion). Visit or follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.


About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

Rolls-Royce develops and delivers complex power and propulsion solutions for safety-critical applications in the air, at sea and on land. Our products and service packages enable our customers to connect people, societies, cultures and economies together; they meet the growing need for power generation across multiple industries; and enable governments to equip their armed forces with the power to protect.

Rolls-Royce has a presence in 48 countries and customers in more than 150, comprising over 250 commercial large aero engine customers, 160 armed forces and navies and approximately 40,000 active Power Systems customers. We are committed to becoming a net zero company by 2050 and we support our customers to do the same.

Annual underlying revenue was £15.4bn in 2023, underlying operating profit was £1.6bn and free cash flow £1.3bn.


About ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation with the mission of delivering a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft as the most environmentally and economically friendly solution for addressing the industry’s climate impact. The company is starting with engines to support a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by the end of 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. Founded in California and now with thriving teams also in Everett, WA and the United Kingdom, ZeroAvia has secured experimental certificates to test its engines in three separate testbed aircraft with the FAA and CAA and passed significant flight test milestones.

The company has signed a number of key engineering partnerships with major aircraft OEMs and has nearly 2,000 pre-orders for engines from a number of the major global airlines, with future revenue potential over $10bn. For more, please visit, follow @ZeroAvia on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.