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  • Joe Breitfeller

Alaska Air Group Collaborates With ZeroAvia to Develop Hydrogen Powertrain for 76 Seat Aircraft

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Alaska Air Group will collaborate with UK-based ZeroAvia to develop a 3MW+ hydrogen-electric powertrain to be incorporated into a 76-seat De Havilland Canada DHC 8-400 aircraft. The collaboration also adds Alaska Airlines to ZeroAvia’s list of investors.

Alaska Air Group Collaborates With ZeroAvia to Develop Powertrain for 76-Seat Zero-Emission Aircraft - Courtesy Alaska Airlines

On Tuesday (October 26, 2021), Alaska Air Group announced the launch of a new collaboration with UK-based ZeroAvia for the development of a 3MW+ hydrogen-electric powertrain to be incorporated into a 76-seat De Havilland Canada DHC Dash 8-400 aircraft (formerly Bombardier Q400). With the new partnership, Alaska Airlines will also become an investor in ZeroAvia. The aircraft will contain a ZA2000, ZeroAvia’s largest powertrain platform, which can produce between 2,000 kW and 5,000 kW, and will be capable of flying in excess of 500 nautical miles.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainability, Diana Birkett Rakow, said,

“Alaska is committed to creating a sustainable future for aviation, working on all aspects of a five-part path toward our goal of net zero by 2040. We are honored to partner with ZeroAvia's innovative and forward-thinking team, to support their progress developing zero-emissions aviation, and to collaborate for real-world hydrogen aviation success.”

Also commenting on the new collaboration, ZeroAvia’s Founder and CEO, Val Miftakhov, said,

“The aviation industry is one of the hardest industries to decarbonize; however, with this collaboration, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of making our skies emission-free. We are thrilled to see Alaska taking the lead to implement clean technologies into their operations and look forward to putting boots on the ground with Alaska's team.”

With Alaska and ZeroAvia engineers working together, the partnership will initially deploy the powertrain in a former Horizon Air De Havilland Dash 8-400, while working closely with regulators to ensure safety and operational requirements are met. Additionally, Alaska has secured options for 50 kits to begin converting their regional fleet to hydrogen-electric aircraft. The pioneering zero-emission aircraft rollout will also be supported by ground fuel production and dispensing infrastructure by ZeroAvia and their infrastructure partners, including Shell.

London and California-based ZeroAvia’s goal is to achieve commercialization of hydrogen-electric aircraft by 2024 with an aircraft seating 9-19 passengers offering a range of 300 nautical miles using their 600kW engines. The company also hopes to operate commercial flights with up to 100 seats and a range over 500 nautical miles with their 2,000-5,000kW engines by 2026. By 2030, the company's goal is to establish a range for the technology of over 1,000 miles with an aircraft seating over 100 passengers.

ZeroAvia has secured experimental certificates for two test aircraft and completed major flight test milestones with the world’s first hydrogen-electric powered flight in September 2020. The company's expanding UK operations are partially funded by grants from the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. ZeroAvia is also part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council and is on track to achieve commercial operations of hydrogen-electric powered flight by 2024.

Alaska Airlines and their regional partners serve over 120 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Belize (from November 2021). The sustainability-focused carrier emphasizes Next-Level Care for guests, while offering low fares and award-winning service. Alaska has hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Anchorage. The carrier is a member of the oneworld global alliance, and along with their additional partners, Alaska Airlines’ guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 1,000 global destinations on over 20 airlines. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of the Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK).

Source(s): Alaska Air Group, ZeroAvia

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