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Globetrotters go green: Rolls-Royce strikes deal to turn private jets electric

·2-min read
A mock-up of Rolls-Royce’s ‘vertiports’ (Rolls-Royce)
A mock-up of Rolls-Royce’s ‘vertiports’ (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce has announced a partnership with private jet charterer Luxaviation to help develop a new fleet of electric passenger planes.

The British aerospace business will build charging points and provide maintenance services for electric planes, to be stationed at a number of planned ‘vertiports’ – airports for vertical take-off flights.

Luxaviation charters luxury private planes for wealthy clients, including celebrities, business owners and senior politicians. The Luxembourg-based company has committed to making all new product operations net-zero by 2050.

Celebrities and diplomats came under fire for their sizeable carbon footprints after many took private jets to the Glasgow Cop26 climate summit in November. 400 private jets are believed to have flown to Glasgow over the duration of the climate summit.

Prime minister Boris Johnson faced criticism after reportedly leaving Cop26 by private jet to attend a dinner party at the Garrick Club in London.

Andreas Schell, CEO Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “This is another demonstration of how Rolls-Royce is helping make aviation more sustainable.”

Christophe Lapierre, Luxaviation’s head of strategy, said: “We are convinced that Rolls-Royce and Luxaviation, two market leaders with a global network, talent, expertise, and vision across entire value chain will accelerate the deployment of Advanced Air Mobility through this strategic partnership.”

Advanced Air Mobility is the industry term for a new generation of electric powered flying vehicles: everything from drones to air taxis. A previous collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Airbus to make a hybrid-electric plane, the E-Fan X, was scrapped in 2020 after Airbus said it would “reprioritise” its research projects.

Airbus rival Boeing is developing an energy-efficient passenger planes under its Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research programme, or SUGAR.

Rob Watson, President of Rolls Royce Electrical said: “Rolls-Royce will be the leading provider of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for Advanced Air Mobility.”

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