Sydney lands Australia’s first hydrogen aviation fuel port

Sydney’s Bankstown Airport has become the first in the Southern Hemisphere to offer hydrogen fuel, in a tie-up that offers local flying vehicle startup AMSL Aero a way to extend the range of its electric aircraft.

AMSL Aero announced the partnership with airport operator Aeria Management Group (AMG) on Wednesday, describing it as a landmark moment for sustainable flight in Australia.

The company plans to use the fuel to extend the range of its fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, called the Vertiia, to 1,000 kilometres using hydrogen fuel cells.

The Vertiaa aircraft. Image: AMSL Aero

Vertiia has a cruising speed of up to 300km/h and carry four passengers, which makes it suitable for customers in the aeromedical, cargo, emergency, and regional air mobility sectors.

AMSL Aero conducted its first test flight in February 2023 and is currently using cylinders containing hydrogen to test Vertiia’s powertrain on the ground at Bankstown Airport.

The next step involves “integrating the fuel into the aircraft” and conducting a second test flight using hydrogen fuel in 2025, well ahead of its planned certification and first commercial flights in 2027.

By using hydrogen fuel cells, AMSL Aero said Vertiia will be the “longest-range passenger-capable VTOL aircraft in the word”.

AMSL Aero chief executive Max York said the partnership marks an important milestone in the company’s mission to help decarbonise aviation, while improving the mobility of Australians in rural and remote locations.

“With AMSL Aero and Bankstown Airport leading the charge in adopting hydrogen as aviation fuel, Australia is poised to play a key role in the global transition towards sustainable aviation,” he said.

AMG chief executive Daniel Jarosh said Bankstown Airport was well placed to be the “launching for the future of Australian aviation, as the nation transitions towards net zero”.

“Australia has the potential to lead the evolution towards advanced air mobility aircraft, which will bring… faster freight deliveries and city commutes to greater connectivity for people in regional and rural areas,” he said.

“The landmark development of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft by AMSL Aero at Bankstown Airport puts us in the cockpit for shaping a more sustainable and innovative aviation ecosystem for future generations.”

Bankstown Airport had the fourth highest number of aircraft movements last financial year, according to data provided to Airservices Australia, with only Sydney Kingsford Smith, Melbourne Airport and Moorabbin (Melbourne) ahead.

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