Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel last week released details of a 20-seat, zero-emissions regional airliner concept.
The aircraft, known as a Miniliner, would be powered by hydrogen propulsion technology and be designed to compete in the urban mobility market servicing routes and communities currently not economical using existing aircraft.
"Pipistrel is proud to announce that conceptual design studies that had been conducted are indicating significant market potential on the premise of identified technological and infrastructural feasibility," a company announcement states.
"Our Miniliner concept will deliver a leading solution for future small regional aircraft that will enable clean, fast, and cost-effective transportation.
"The Miniliner is a new kind of zero-emission airplane in the 20-seat size class, capable of operating quietly from runways shorter than 1 km, including grass airstrips at small aerodromes. These aeroplanes have therefore the potential to disrupt aerial mobility, connecting currently unserved populations at 200 to 1000 km range, but also catering for microfeeder services from small airports to large hubs."
Pipistrel says that quiet, safe operations with zero emissions are "non-negotiable" attributes of the Miniliner if the aircraft is to replace older 40-seat aircraft that use turbo-prop engines, which the company believes have running costs 30-40% more than the projections for the Miniliner.
The company is hoping to introduce the Miniliner around 2028-30.