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UK airline easyJet engages kids in zero-emissions air travel

Mon 18 Oct 2021 | 10:38 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

easyJet launces kids' competition around zero-emissions

The British airline, easyJet is looking to engage school children in the topic of zero-emissions through the launch of a new UK-wide competition that challenges bright young minds to design the future of air travel. The competition tasks school kids aged seven to 16 to design a passenger plane for travelling across Europe, powered only by a sustainable energy source. It’s part of the airline’s mission to engage younger generations with the topic and inspire them to become a part of a revolution in transport. It builds on easyJet’s own history in space. Back in 2019, easyJet became the first major airline to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights. The competition has launched just in time for UK half term. All designs will be judged by a panel representing world class experts in flying, sustainability, design, and zero-emissions technology. It will comprise easyJet’s First Officer Debbie Thomas, an engineer and zero-emission aircraft modeller, alongside easyJet’s director of sustainability Jane Ashton, Airbus’ Glenn Llewellyn, Jeff Engler, the CEO of Wright Electric which is currently developing a zero-emission short haul plane, and the famous automotive transportation designer, Frank Stephenson. The competition is open from Monday, October 18th until Friday, October 31st to children aged seven to 16 in the UK. Kids are tasked with drawing their zero-emissions aircraft, complete with notes and descriptions highlighting how their aircraft works and why they have chosen the elements in their designs. Entries can be submitted via this link. Entries will be judged and shortlisted in two age categories: Seven to 11 years and 12 to 16 years. The winning entry will receive a prize trip to the easyJet Training Centre in London Gatwick and an experience in a full-flight simulator, as well as return easyJet flights to anywhere on the airline’s network for the winner’s immediate family. They will also receive a 3D model and rendering of their design, produced and signed by Frank Stephenson, a designer best known for his iconic designs for MINI and Fiat 500, as well as innovative work designing electric flying vehicles. Entries will not only be judged on quality of design, but interpretation of the theme, creativity, innovation, practicality, and how the design has considered sustainability and the environment. Debbie Thomas, easyJet First Officer, said: “At easyJet we are very clear about the imperative to reduce CO2 and to stimulate radical technologies, and zero emissions flying is our ultimate destination. “We know that the environment is important to all of our customers, including our younger passengers, so we are really excited to launch our Aircraft of the Future competition to engage younger generations in the exciting possibilities of new zero-emissions technology for air travel and inspire them to become designers and engineers of the future, who will play a vital role in the industry’s future.” Designer Stephenson, added: “Design has the power to improve the world and it is important to allow the future custodians of the planet to have their say. It is an honour to be involved with easyJet’s aircraft design competition as we look to inspire the designers of the future to get involved with the development of zero-emission planes. “I can’t wait to see the incredible designs they come up with.” Supporting the development of a zero-emission aircraft to de-carbonise aviation has become a major focus for easyJet who first unveiled plans for a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel system for its aircraft as part of a competition with Cranfield University back in 2016. The company formed partnerships with Wright Electric in 2017 and with Airbus in 2019, who are now developing zero-emission technologies for passenger planes, powered by hydrogen-combustion and hydrogen-electric propulsion. As part of easyJet’s wider commitment to reducing their impact on the environment, the company is also committed to reducing waste on board, focusing on changes to inflight food and drink service by reducing plastics, moving to non-plastic alternatives and more sustainable materials. This year has seen easyJet introduce new uniforms for its pilots and crew made from recycled plastic bottles.
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