Welcome to HAM Hamburg and Rotterdam announce hydrogen flight corridor collaboration, setting sights on 2026 first flight

Hamburg and Rotterdam announce hydrogen flight corridor collaboration, setting sights on 2026 first flight

Signing ceremony of the MoU at the Paris Air Show
  • MoU establishes cooperation to explore hydrogen flight route between Hamburg Airport (HAM) and Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA)
  • Agreement envisages possible first flight of hydrogen aircraft in 2026

Hamburg/Rotterdam/Paris 21 June 2023 – Hamburg Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport and Hamburg Aviation today announced a new collaboration to explore the viability of a hydrogen flight route between Hamburg and Rotterdam. The MoU also covers a broader cooperation to develop hydrogen infrastructure and to contribute to the creation of relevant industry standards. Using 2026 as a guideline date for a maiden flight on a Hamburg-Rotterdam hydrogen flight route, the signatories envision commercial flights between RTHA and HAM in the future.

In addition to hydrogen technology, the agreement expressly encourages cooperation on other technologies such as digitised airports and aviation, renewable energy production, infrastructure, advanced training and smart airport technology. The scope of the MoU also includes deepening technical cooperation on sustainable airport operation, a field where both RTHA and HAM have made important strides in recent years.

Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO Hamburg Airport: “As Flughafen Hamburg GmbH, we have set ourselves the goal of reducing our fossil CO2 emissions to zero in twelve years with the climate protection programme Net Zero 2035 – as the first major commercial airport in Germany. Part of this strategy is to enable ‘green’ flying together with other cooperation partners as soon as possible, among other things with hydrogen-based technologies. Here, the planned hydrogen flight route between Hamburg and Rotterdam is a very good example of how strong partners join forces to develop and implement sustainable aviation using a practical example.”

“We have high ambitions with regard to making our airport more sustainable and making a strong contribution to sustainable aviation,” said Wilma van Dijk, CEO of Rotterdam The Hague Airport. “By sharing our increasing expertise on hydrogen infrastructure and operations together with our innovation field lab, the parties involved are working together in an optimal way to accelerate the energy transition in the aviation sector. We are therefore extremely proud to be part of this collaboration in which we will facilitate the first hydrogen flight between Rotterdam and Hamburg in just a few years.”

“As one of the first collaborations of its kind in Europe, this exciting initiative sets out the intention of two European airports to chart a path towards a flight route for hydrogen aircraft, exploring what’s needed to turn this idea into reality,” comments Ralf Gust, Managing Director of cluster network Hamburg Aviation. “Hamburg and Rotterdam are both hubs of advanced aviation research in the field of hydrogen, making this an ideal partnership to explore what’s needed to establish flight routes for hydrogen aircraft. I am certain that the partners in our cluster network will benefit from the sharing of expertise that’s core to this agreement. It’s a further catalyst towards a future hydrogen route network in aviation, itself a crucial path towards meeting our net zero targets,” Gust adds.

“This collaboration is an important step to decarbonize the aviation sector and scale up hydrogen-powered aircraft,” comments Miranda Janse, director at Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport foundation. “We are making the first step in turning ideas and plans into real action, by enabling an operational corridor for hydrogen. It is great that Hamburg and Rotterdam are leading the path forward in hydrogen aviation.”

For images of the signing ceremony, please click here.

About Hamburg Airport

Hamburg Airport is the largest international airport in northern Germany. With 11.1 million passengers in 2022, passenger numbers have risen again faster than expected after the pandemic. By comparison, over 17 million passengers were counted in the pre-Corona year 2019. A wide-ranging route network is offered from Hamburg: 120 national and international destinations are served directly by the 55 airlines from Hamburg. Around 1,000 destinations worldwide can be reached with only one change of flight. Around 15,000 employees work in almost 250 companies on the airport site (Hamburg Airport Group: around 1,800). The airport has already been CO2-neutral since 2021. Now it is taking the decisive step further: with its climate strategy "Net Zero 2035 - Now. For the Future", Hamburg Airport aims to reduce the airport city's greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035 and forego compensation - the first major airport in Germany to do so.

About Rotterdam The Hague Airport

Rotterdam The Hague Airport is a regional airport with ambitious goals in sustainability, innovation, the passenger experience and connection to the region. Every year, over two million passengers travel through our airport to over fifty European destinations for their business or private travel. Rotterdam The Hague Airport is part of the Royal Schiphol Group and derives its right to exist from its contribution to the development of the region, which goes beyond facilitating aviation. Together with their partners, RTHA creates a distinctive passenger experience and plays a pioneering role in the transformation and renewal of the aviation sector. The airport fulfils a role as employer, educator, connector, business partner and is the ambassador of the region. Rotterdam The Hague Airport also has an important social function as a homebase for regional trauma- and police helicopters.

About Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport

Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport is a collective of approximately 70 partners that work on sustainable innovations for the aviation sector at a commercial operational airport (RTHA). Together we are working towards an innovations cluster in which knowledge institutes, government and the private sector can work together. This innovation cluster is in line with the ambitions of the City of Rotterdam in the field of socio-economic structure strengthening, digitalization, energy transition and talent development (Human Capital agenda).  

About Hamburg Aviation

With more than 40,000 highly qualified professionals, Hamburg Aviation is one of the largest sites for civil aviation worldwide. In addition to the two industry giants Airbus and Lufthansa Technik as well as Hamburg Airport, more than 300 suppliers and diverse technological and scientific institutions contribute to the cluster’s world-class expertise. To support and promote the cluster, enterprises, universities, associations, policy makers and other partners have joined forces to form Hamburg Aviation. Together, they pursue one goal: to bring high-quality products and services for the aviation of the future to the market through networked research and development, which are good for passengers and set standards in terms of resource protection. In 2008, Hamburg's aviation cluster was named a top cluster by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Since 2014, Hamburg Aviation has been awarded the GOLD label as one of Europe's best-managed clusters by the European Commission's ECEI initiative. In 2016, the "Land of Ideas" initiative named the Hamburg Aviation network one of the "100 Excellent Places" in Germany.

Media Contact:


Angus Baigent

Manager, Marketing and Communications

Hamburg Aviation, Wexstraße 7, 20355 Hamburg

Phone +49 40 / 22 70 19 88, Mobile +49 151 / 227 811 08

angus.baigent@hamburg-aviation.com | www.hamburg-aviation.de

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