"For the first time in my career I can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it," said Carolyn McCall, easyJet's chief executive. "It is now more a matter of when, not if, a short-haul electric plane will fly."
According to CEO Jeff Engler, Wright Electric is still weighing up which battery tech it will use to power its aircraft but claimed that its planes will be 50 percent quieter and 10 percent cheaper for airlines to buy and operate. easyJet says this saving will then be passed on to passengers.
Typically, easyJet flights are boring affairs. The airline specialises in short haul flights, so it's not seen fit to include entertainment in the ticket price. However, that's all set to change with the introduction of Air Time, a new free app that lets passengers stream movies, TV shows, audiobooks and games via their own device.
The service works by asking passengers to connect to easyJet's inter-aircraft wireless network. Once connected, they can access a range of pre-selected video, audio and magazine content that can be played back via the browser.
The company will initially trial the app -- developed in cooperation with internet service giant Rakuten and inflight network specialists Immfly -- on five planes operating out Switzerland from this autumn . That doesn't mean that Brits will miss out, as the selected aircraft will continue on their scheduled routes to and from the UK.
easyJet has been trialling drones for a number of years in the hope they'll speed up aircraft ground checks and enable the airline to get its planes back in the air quicker. To begin with, the airline's oversized UAVs needed a human operator, but aircraft surveys have now been automated. Checks that would normally take more than a day can be completed in a matter of hours and with more accuracy.