To decarbonise air transport sector, all-electric and hybrid-electric aircraft have advanced rapidly, particularly for small or regional electric aircraft (EA). However, the airport energy infrastructure for EA charging remains a key challenge owing to the high-power charging demand with highly-scheduled charging patterns. This paper develops an optimal airport charging infrastructure for EA. Battery swap and plug-in charging systems are proposed and compared in terms of charging schedule flexibility, costs and revenue. The novel mechanism â€œAviation to Gridâ€ is proposed to enable the bi-directional power flow interaction between power grid and EA charging system. The two alternative charging systems are implemented with different penetration levels of electric domestic flights in five case studies of London Gatwick airport. The optimal EA charging schedules with hourly generation dispatch and EA charging demand are developed. A conclusion is made that the battery swap is more economic when the EA penetration level is lower than 10%. The plug-in charge becomes a cost-effective option when the EA penetration level increases above 10%.
Keywords Energy system planning, air transport, electric charging, battery swap, electric aircraft, grid operation