AviationMeanwhile, airlines look to scenic flights and health passports to ride out slump.

A new generation of aircraft ready for take-off

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Airbus' "blended-wing body" design concept aircraft
Airbus' "blended-wing body" design concept aircraft

Airbus looks to hydrogen-powered planes

Airbus has revealed three concepts for what it says could be the world's first zero-emissions aircraft, with entry into service coming by 2035. And each of the concepts would make use of hydrogen as the primary source of power.

Under the first concept, a turbofan jet engine would be modified to run on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel. Liquid hydrogen would be distributed via tanks located near the back of plane. The aircraft would seat 120 to 200 passengers and could fly 2,300 or more miles.

The second concept involves a plane of up to 100 passengers, which would be powered by a turboprop engine rather than a turbofan. Like the first concept, the engine would be modified to run on hydrogen. The craft would be geared toward shorthaul flying, with a range of up to 1,150 miles.

For Airbus' third concept of a "blended-wing body" design, wings on the aircraft would merge with the main body of the plane, providing an especially wide fuselage, which would offer multiple options both for cabin layout and for the location of the hydrogen storage and distribution units. Airbus envisions the hydrogen-powered "blended-wing body" aircraft seating up to 200 passengers and having a range of approximately 2,300 miles.

"The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight," Guillaume Faury, Airbus' CEO, said in prepared statement Monday.

"I strongly believe that the use of hydrogen, both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft, has the potential to significantly reduce aviation's climate impact."

This article on Airbus was first published in Travel Weekly.

Grab your ticket for an air taxi treat

Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), has launched the first global public sale for electrical air taxi flight reservations.

The announcement follows Volocopter's successful demonstration flights in Stuttgart, at Helsinki's international airport and over Singapore's Marina Bay.

"Based on our public test flights and regulatory achievement record, we have paved the way to make electric flight in cities in just a few years," said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter.

The reservations are available world-wide on the Volocopter Reservation Platform. Tickets cost €300.

Qantas eyes more scenic flights

Qantas is keen to offer more scenic flights over Australia after the first one sold out in seven hours.

The Qantas flight, in a Boeing 787 flew at low levels over central Australia, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour before landing back in Sydney.

Tickets cost between A$787 and A$3,787 (US$575 and US$2,760) depending on the seating class. “It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” a Qantas spokeswoman said.

Taiwan's EVA Airways and Japan's ANA have previously offered special sightseeing flights and Singapore Airways is reported to be considering its own scenic flights.

Cathay’s health passport set to fly

Cathay Pacific is ready to launch a digital health passport that allows travellers to show their negative Covid-19 test results on a mobile app before boarding. Developed with Hong Kong start-up Prenetics, a trial will start on the Hong Kong-London route from October.

The Hong Kong government has indicated it is working towards forming travel bubbles with 11 countries.

Bali: The numbers tell the story

The impact of Covid-19 on international arrivals in Bali has been highlighted by August air traffic figures.

Of the 174,462 passengers traveling through Bali’s airport in August, 99% were domestic passengers, with only 2,345 international passengers landing during the month.

National carrier Garuda Indonesia has, meanwhile, revealed plans to operate twice weekly services to three Australian cities from 25 October.
The services will connect Denpasar with Melbourne, Sydney and Perth and the same three cities with Jakarta.

Australia international borders remain closed to all but Australian citizens returning home.

Qatar keen to bring Aussies home

Qatar Airways has applauded the Australian government’s decision to increase the current caps on international arrivals into the country. An additional 2,000 Australians per week twill be allowed to return home.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said, “Since April, we have been the leading airline carrying international traffic to and from Australia.

“While other airlines grounded operations, we kept flying, carrying almost 45% of international passengers in April and 34% in May, helping carry over 180,000 Australians and international travellers home.

“Despite this, there are still over 20,000 Australians stranded overseas, so we will continue to work with the Australian government and remain ready to operate as many flights as possible to bring them home.”

Qatar Airways recently resumed flights to Adelaide, becoming the first international airline since the onset of the pandemic to serve five Australian cities.

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