Small commercial aircraft with hybrid propulsion technologies will be on the market from 2025 on

Understanding future potential markets requires a thorough analysis of air passengers’ travels while also taking in concern the technological improvements on the aircraft, such as development of new hybrid-electric propulsion systems. Hybrid-electric propulsion technologies are appealing for a new paradigm of transport services and business models with their many advantages, such as low or almost zero emissions, reduced noise and low operating costs. The possibility to commercialize the use of (not yet existing) pure-electric 8-seater and hybrid-electric 19-seater and 70-seater is very intriguing.

From technical point of view, pure electric battery driven aircraft will be feasible only for light aircraft (1-8-seater) and short ranges up to approx. 200 km, unless batteries will significantly improve in upcoming years. According to market studies, such aircraft cannot be successfully used for on-demand flights, as in 70 % of the cases aircraft in this segment connects city pairs with a range from 300 km on. As such, pure electric battery driven aircraft will present a very appealing option for pilot training, sport or hobby use, for touristic/sightseeing flights, especially in vacation areas due to zero gas pollution and low noise during entire flight. It is expected that the 8-seater pure electric aircraft will enter the market around the year 2025.

ICE-hybrid aircraft will be technically feasible for all sizes of aircraft and economically justifiable, especially if considering favorable taxiing and subsidy policies regarding the positive affect on environment. With zero gas emissions and low noise during takeoff, an ICE-hybrid aircraft can achieve same ranges as conventional aircraft and has more environmental advantages on crowded airports and airports near large cities. This type of aircraft would be most preferably used in Scandinavia, Great Britain and on airports that charge penalties for gas emissions.  It is expected that the 8-, 19- and 70-seater ICE-hybrid aircraft will enter the market around the year 2035.

ICE-hybrid aircraft will be mainly used in the transition period towards implementation of fuel-cell hybrid aircraft, which will present the most feasible long-term solution given the production prices of hydrogen. The prices of hydrogen will play a major role in the market implementation and they are expected to drop on the level competitive to kerosene after 2037 (allowing price of hydrogen to be 5 times higher as kerosene). Considering this timeline it is expected that the 8-, 19- and 70-seater fuel-cell hybrid aircraft will enter the market around the year 2040.