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Press Release: Airbus, partners embrace open approach to decarbonizing

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Press Release hub banner blue with title in red white and blueParis region, Groupe ADP, Air France-KLM and Airbus are launching a call for expressions of interest to explore the opportunities generated by hydrogen in Paris airports with the aim to decarbonize air transport activities.

This worldwide call for expressions of interest complies with the French government’s energy transition strategy and supported by the European Commission, which strives for zero-emission aircrafts by 2035.

Aware that the advent of hydrogen will revolutionize the way airport infrastructures are designed and operated, the partners want to anticipate and support developments that should help transform the Paris airports into true “hydrogen hubs”.

The international call for expressions of interest – launched with the support of the international agency Choose Paris Region agency, in charge of the international promotion and attractiveness of Paris Region – aims to build a unique airport ecosystem federated around hydrogen, major corporations, SMEs, start-ups, laboratories and universities.

This open innovation initiative is a key step to initiate this technological breakthrough across the entire hydrogen value chain within the airport city.

The five partners share a common ambition: to identify and qualify research advances in research and technologies, and then to test the economically viable solutions that will meet the needs of hydrogen at an airport, to prepare in the medium term the challenges of its supplies and uses in a larger scale, particularly with a view to operate a future hydrogen-powered aircraft.

This unprecedented call for expressions of interest focuses on three main themes:

  • Storage, transport and distribution of hydrogen (gaseous and liquid) in an airport environment (storage systems, micro-liquefaction, aircraft fueling, etc.);
  • Diversification of hydrogen use cases in airports and in aeronautics (ground handling vehicles and equipment, rail transport at airports, energy supply for buildings or aircraft during ground operations, etc.);
  • Circular economy around hydrogen (recovery of hydrogen dissipated during liquid hydrogen fueling, recovery of a by-product from a reaction to produce decarbonated hydrogen, etc.).

Applications will be open from February 11th to March 19th, 2021, via the website hydrogenhubairport.com  and selected projects will be disclosed at the end of April.

Regarding this, Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP said: “We are ready, with our partners, to federate a unique ecosystem to make possible the progressive integration of hydrogen at Paris airports. We must prepare today to welcome the hydrogen aircraft in 2035 by transforming our airports into real hydrogen hubs, in which we wish to develop various uses, with our stakeholders, around airside and city-side ground mobility. Alongside other solutions, such as sustainable alternative fuels, the deployment of hydrogen aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of air transport.”

Alexandra Dublanche, Vice-President of Paris Region in charge of the Economic development and Attractiveness, declared: ” with Valérie Pécresse, President of Paris Region, we were the first in France to experiment two hydrogen buses in commercial service, between Jouy-en-Josas and Versailles Chantiers, in order to test the potential of this energy. We also adopted a Hydrogen Plan in November 2019, which provides regional support for the sector, in order to reveal its potential in Paris Region. This call for expressions of interest makes it possible to realize these ambitions, and help us build together the airport at the service of the inhabitants and the attractiveness of Paris Region.”

Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region, stated: “thanks to the collaboration of the public and private actors involved in this call for proposals, we wish to contribute very concretely to the implementation of new innovative and sustainable solutions that side with the energy transition commitments made by Paris Region.”

For her part, Anne-Sophie Le Lay, Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary Air France-KLM, reminds that: “the support for research and development and the use of new energies is fundamental to move towards a more sustainable and responsible air transport. This call for expressions of interest brings together leading partners to lay the foundations of an innovative and ambitious ecosystem.”

And Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus, to add: “Airbus is determined to drive a bold vision for the future of sustainable aviation, and to lead the transition to zero-emission commercial flight. Hydrogen is the one of the most promising technologies that will help us meet that objective – but we won’t be able to do it alone. This revolution will also require our regulatory and infrastructure ecosystems to change worldwide. Airports have a key role to play in enabling that transition, starting today, and we hope that this open innovation initiative will foster the development of creative projects and solutions.”

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About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2019, it generated revenues of € 70 billion and employed a workforce of around 135,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

About Paris Region

Paris Region is a driving force for French employment and growth, both in terms of its economic weight and its influence. As the leading economic region in Europe and the third-largest urban economy in the world, behind Tokyo and New York, Paris Region is a hotbed for innovation due to its concentration of 40% of France’s R&D activities. By and large, Paris Region benefits from a great international appeal.

Paris Region is active in most of the areas that affect the daily lives of its 12 million residents: transport, education, economic development, environment, etc. In an area that covers only 2% of France but is home to 18% of the country’s population and nearly 30% of the national GDP, Paris Region is implementing a development policy which places the environment at the heart of its priorities. It is investing 10 billion euros towards it. The launch of an innovative aeronautics industry in Paris region is therefore fully in line with its policy in terms of attractiveness and economic development.

About Choose Paris Region 

Choose Paris Region is a catalyst for business and innovation which supports international companies wishing to expand in the Paris Region. As a non-profit governmental agency, Choose Paris Region works with local public entities to provide free tailor-made services.

Choose Paris Region brings its deep market and industry expertise together with an extensive network to support international companies in building tech partnerships, designing their go to market strategy, and providing guidance to implement their local presence.

Every year, with a team of 80 dedicated professionals across Europe, the US and China, Choose Paris Region supports 1,000+ international companies looking to grow their business in Paris Region, one of the leading tech and business hubs in the world.

About Groupe ADP 

Groupe ADP develops and manages airports, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget. In 2019, the group handled through its brand Paris Aéroport more than 108 million passengers and 2.2 million metric tons of freight and mail at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, and more than 110 million passengers in airports abroad.

Boasting an exceptional geographic location and a major catchment area, the Group is pursuing its strategy of adapting and modernizing its terminal facilities and upgrading quality of services. The group also intends to develop its retail and real estate businesses. In 2019, group revenue stood at €4,700 million and net income at €588 million.

About Air France-KLM

Air France-KLM is a leading airline Group in terms of international traffic on departure from Europe. It offers its customers access to a worldwide network, thanks to its strong brands Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Transavia, mainly from its hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.

Its Flying Blue frequent flyer programme is one of the leaders in Europe with over 15 million members.

Together with its partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic, Air France-KLM operates the largest transatlantic joint venture. Air France-KLM is also a member of SkyTeam, alliance of 19 member airlines dedicated to providing passengers with a more seamless travel experience at every step of their journey.

Air France-KLM is fully committed to sustainability and will accelerate to reduce its environmental footprint. The aim is to make a significant contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in connection with the Group’s activities.