EcoJet Soars as UK's First Fully-Electric and Plant-Based Airline
British entrepreneur Dale Vince is pioneering green and sustainable aviation with EcoJet, powered by biofuels - slated to be the UK's first all-electric airline serving plant-based meals.
British entrepreneur Dale Vince is pioneering sustainability in the aviation industry with the launch of EcoJet, slated to be the UK's first fully-electric airline. Vince has a proven track record of bringing green initiatives to carbon-heavy sectors, having founded the nation's first green energy provider, Ecotricity, back in 1995. His latest venture aims to show that environmentally-friendly electric planes serving plant-based meals represent the future of eco-conscious air travel.
Initially, EcoJet will operate a 19-seater plane flying between Edinburgh and Southampton. For the first year, the aircraft will rely on conventional kerosene-based fuel. However, Vince has plans to retrofit the planes with electric engines powered by green hydrogen once the technology becomes commercially viable. This pragmatic approach allows EcoJet to get up and running now while transitioning to zero-emissions systems down the line.
In addition to eventual electric propulsion, EcoJet is embracing sustainability with its in-flight dining. Aligning with Vince's vegan ethos, the airline will exclusively serve plant-based meals to passengers. This ensures the environmental benefits of electric planes aren't undermined by high-carbon food choices.
Vince told media, "We want to prove that one of the last frontiers [of decarbonization] can be broken and that it's not insolvable." He added, "Green living is not about giving things up—everything we like to have in this life can be done in a net-zero life."
EcoJet isn't alone in providing vegan inflight meals. This week, Asia's Green Rebel company announced a partnership with Malaysian airline AirAsia to add vegan and vegetarian menu options reflecting regional cuisine. For example, routes in Malaysia will offer a plant-based Nasi Lemak, while routes in the Philippines will serve meatless Sisig. Green Rebel uses proprietary proteins to mimic the texture and taste of meat and chicken in these traditional dishes.
Compared to animal-based counterparts, Green Rebel's products reduce carbon emissions by 90%, water use by 72%, land use by 90% and overall energy use by 81%. This allows AirAsia to slash its carbon footprint and work toward the airline's pledge to cut emissions in line with Paris Agreement targets. AirAsia aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per aircraft by 221 metric tons by 2050.
In the United States, major airlines like United are taking their own steps toward sustainability. United is investing in biofuels and has committed to zero emissions by 2050. It's also exploring partnerships to make electric flight commercially viable in cities like Chicago. While not fully vegan, United has added more plant-based options through collaborations with Impossible Foods. The airline now offers Impossible meatballs in first class and Impossible sausage in airport lounges.
The shifts towards electric propulsion, biofuels, and plant-based meals across the industry signify airlines recognizing the broad changes needed to reduce their environmental impact. EcoJet stands out with its goal of bringing all these elements together to create a truly sustainable flying experience. Its all-electric planes serving vegan food represent the future of eco-friendly aviation. Dale Vince hopes EcoJet will inspire wider adoption of green technologies and set a new standard for responsibility in the air.