Sadly, they'll only be on routes that would be better served by train.
European low-cost carrier EasyJet has long been touting budget airlines as a low carbon option for aviation. Specifically, they've pushed for aircraft age restrictions to weed out inefficient, older planes and, presumably, disadvantage the legacy airline competition.
Now Business Green reports that they are opening a new front on the push for low emission aviation -- a bold plan to fly electric passenger planes on shortfall routes within a decade.We have already seen electric light aircraft pop up on TreeHugger from time to time, but this is the first time that I'm aware of a major commercial carrier aiming for electrification within a specific timeframe. As such, it could mark a significant step forward for much lower emission airplanes.
That said, it's important to note a fairly major caveat: The routes they are currently talking about are London to Paris, or Edinburgh to Bristol, both of which have regular, direct rail services that—when electrified and run efficiently—would have significantly lower emissions than launching a heavy metal tube full of people into the atmosphere at high speed.
Still, I don't see airplanes going away anytime soon. So I suspect we should welcome this ambitious move. I just hope it doesn't blunt the momentum from planes to trains that the UK has seen in recent years.