Bankstown Airport leads charge to greener flying

Bankstown Airport has become the first airport in Australia to introduce hydrogen to power aircraft in a major step towards a more sustainable aviation industry.

Aeria Management Group (AMG) has partnered with AMSL Aero – the zero-emission long-range Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft designer and manufacturer – to introduce hydrogen as an aviation fuel at the leading general aviation airport in Southwest Sydney.

AMSL Aero will use the fuel to extend the range of its Vertiia aircraft from 300 kilometres on electric batteries to 1000km using hydrogen fuel cells, making Vertiia the longest-range passenger-capable VTOL aircraft in the world.

“Bankstown Airport will be the launching pad for the future of Australian aviation, as the nation transitions towards net zero,” said AMG CEO Daniel Jarosch. “We are proud to partner with AMSL Aero in flying towards a greener future for essential air services, such as medical transfers, firefighting and flight training.”

He added: “Australia has the potential to lead the evolution towards Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft, which will bring sustainability to the skies and to the ways we travel, live and work, from faster freight deliveries and city commutes to greater connectivity for people in regional and rural areas.

“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.”

AMSL Aero is using cylinders containing hydrogen onsite at its main operations at Bankstown Airport – the third busiest airport in Australia – to test the powertrain for Vertiia on the ground, before integrating the fuel into the aircraft. AMSL Aero, which flew Vertiia for the first time in 2023, will test fly the aircraft using hydrogen fuel in 2025, ahead of its planned certification and first commercial flights in 2027.

AMSL Aero CEO Max York said the collaboration with AMG, which manages Bankstown Airport and Camden Airport in Sydney, marks a significant milestone in AMSL Aero’s mission to help decarbonise aviation. “We are proud to be at the forefront of this transformative initiative with Aeria,” he said.

“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 added: “This partnership is also a vital step towards our goals to improve the lives of Australians in the bush by enabling long-distance, efficient aeromedical, passenger, cargo and firefighting flights. Hydrogen holds immense potential as a clean and efficient fuel for aviation, offering zero-emission, longer distance flights that can significantly reduce the cost and carbon footprint of air travel.”

The Commonwealth Government’s Aviation Green Paper, released in 2023, found that Australia is positioning itself to be a leader in the global uptake and development of emerging aviation technologies, such as hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft. Such technologies could see aircraft movements in Australia increase from 3 million a year to 9 million a year, the paper reported.

For more information:
Peter Munro, AMG Senior Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Manager