Easyjet asks children for ideas on net zero flying

19 Oct 2021 by Tom Otley

Easyjet has launched a competition inviting children to design a zero emission aircraft

The airline has partnered with Airbus, zero-emission technology start-up Wright Electric, and designer Frank Stephenson, known for his recent work on designs for electric flying taxis, to launch the Aircraft of the Future competition, open to 7–16 year olds in the UK.

The competition is calling on school children up and down the UK, aged from 7 – 16 to design a passenger plane for travelling across Europe, powered by a sustainable energy source.

The airline, says the competition aims to engage younger generations and inspire them to become part of the revolution of future air travel as aircraft designers and engineers.

The competition has launched just in time for UK half-term. Families flying with easyJet over the holidays are encouraged to pack their pencil cases, for kids to take inspiration from their flight for their design, and help parents keep them occupied on board.

All designs will be judged by an panel including Easyet’s First Officer Debbie Thomas, who is also an engineer and zero-emission aircraft modeller;  Easyjet’s Director of Sustainability Jane Ashton;  Glenn Llewellyn from Airbus who is currently leading their zero-emission aircraft programme; Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright Electric which is developing a zero-emission short-haul plane; and world-famous automotive transportation designer Frank Stephenson, best known for his car designs for MINI and Fiat 500, as well as recent innovative work designing electric flying vehicles.

The top prize winners will see their designs printed into 3D models, earn free easyJet flights for their family, get behind the controls of an Easyjet flight simulator, and go behind the scenes with a visit to Airbus

The competition is open until 23.59hrs on Friday 31 October 2021.

Children aged 7 – 16 in the UK will be able to enter the competition by drawing their zero-emission aircraft design on paper or tablet, complete with notes and descriptions highlighting how their aircraft works and why they have chosen the elements of their design. Entries can be submitted via

Entries will be judged and shortlisted in two age categories – age 7 – 11 years and age 12 – 16 years, where a winner and runner-up will be awarded in each category.

The winning entry will receive a money-can’t-buy prize in the form of a trip to the easyJet Training  Centre in London Gatwick and an experience in a full-flight simulator, plus return easyJet flights to anywhere on the airline’s network for the winner’s immediate family, as well as a 3-D model and rendering of their design, produced and signed by Frank Stephenson.

In addition, the winner of the 12-16 year age category will also win a trip to Airbus and a chance to feature on Frank Stephenson’s YouTube podcast channel to discuss their design. Runners up will also be in with a chance to receive a signed rendering of their design.


Entries will be judged on the quality of the design, interpretation of the theme, creativity, innovation, practicality and most of all, how the design has considered sustainability and the environment.

Successful designs must consider both technical and creative elements of aircraft and the reasons for including them, such as the materials used, patterns, shapes and colours of the plane, how it will take off and land and most importantly, what sustainable source will power it.

Tips from the judges include

  • What makes it environmentally friendly and sustainable
  • The materials used for the plane and the cabin inside
  • What will power the aircraft and what other parts will make it fly
  • How it will take off and land
  • Shape of the plane and aerodynamics
  • How all passengers get on and off the plane quickly and comfortably
  • What will make the flight time really enjoyable for passengers on board
  • How many passengers will it fly and what services will be available for them
  • The patterns, shapes, and colours on the outside and inside of the aircraft to make it stand out

The judging panel will make a final decision on the winners and runners-up jointly.

Easyjet First Officer, Debbie Thomas, said:

“At Easyjet we are very clear about the imperative to reduce CO2 and to stimulate radical technologies, and zero-emissions flying is our ultimate destination. We know the environment is important to all of our customers, including our younger passengers, so we are really excited to launch our Aircraft of the Future competition to engage younger generations in the exciting possibilities of new zero-emission technology for air travel and inspire them to become designers and engineers of the future, who will play a vital role in the industry’s future.”

Frank Stephenson, world-renowned designer, said:

“Design has the power to improve the world and it is important to allow the future custodians of the planet to have their say. It is an honour to be involved with easyJet’s aircraft design competition as we look to inspire the designers of the future to get involved with the development of zero-emission planes. I can’t wait to see what incredible designs they come up with.”

The entry form is available here

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