IN SEPTEMBER 2020 Airbus announced plans for the world’s first zero emissions aircraft using hydrogen as the power source and by December the EcoPulse™ hybrid aircraft demonstrator had passed its design review with the aim of becoming widespread in light aircraft by the end of the decade, being supported by the French Government and helping bigger airliners to hit decarbonisation objectives by 2050.

Less than a year later, Eastleigh Councillors sign what will probably be the ‘Beechingesque’ death warrant of Southampton Eastleigh Airport because of the screams of the ‘no more noisy jets’ campaigners.

So, in 2050, like I do sometimes from the top floors of the Aerodrome Hotel in Croydon, I’ll be able to look out of the old Premier Inn next to the ‘Heritage Centre’ at our old airport and view the new industrial and housing estates where the runway used to be.

At the same time I’ll be able to look up at the quiet electric and hybrid zero emission planes and drones delivering parcels and people and bypassing our area as other airports celebrate the business they took from us and people living near to them enjoy the convenience and low noise and clean air into the bargain.

Southampton had the first ‘airport’ in the world (the flying boats and seaplanes), was surrounded by aviation innovation and saw the birth of Imperial Airways whose ‘DNA’ later became British Airways.

In those days, local councillors looked to the opportunities of the future when they made decisions rather than listening to the yelling from people waving banners who probably have no idea what FutPrInt50 and other programmes are – or what they could mean for us.

Richard Little