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American Airlines Makes Investment in Hydrogen-Electric Engine Developer ZeroAvia

American Airlines has today announced an investment in ZeroAvia, a leader in the development of hydrogen-electric aviation. The carrier also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 hydrogen-electric engines.

Rendering of Regional Jet Powered by ZeroAvia ZA2000-RJ Hydrogen-Electric Engines - Courtesy ZeroAvia / American Airlines

On Wednesday (August 3, 2022), American Airlines announced that they have made an investment in ZeroAvia, a leader in the development of zero-emission hydrogen-electric aviation. The carrier also signed a MoU for the opportunity to purchase up to 100 engines from ZeroAvia’s hydrogen electric powertrain development program to power regional jet aircraft with no emissions. ZeroAvia is working to achieve certain type certifications of their innovative propulsion technology. The company anticipates that their ZA2000-RJ powertrain will enable passengers to fly in zero-emission regional jets as soon as the end of the 2020s.

In Wednesday’s announcment, American Airlines’ Chief Financial Officer, Derek Kerr, said,

“Our investment in ZeroAvia’s emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation. We are excited to contribute to this industry development and look forward to exploring how these engines can support the future of our airline as we build American Airlines to thrive forever.”

ZeroAvia’s Founder and CEO, Val Miftakhov, added,

“Having support from the world’s largest airline is a strong indication of the progress we’re making on the development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission flight. We are focused on delivering sustainable travel, and are delighted that American, a visionary leader in the industry, sees ZeroAvia as a part of the future of aviation.”

Today’s investment is just the latest action in American Airlines’ aggressive climate goals, including plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Recently, the carrier received the industry’s first-ever CORSIA certified batch of SAF from Neste, and also entered an agreement with Gevo, Inc., to purchase 500 million gallons of SAF over five years. The carrier also became the first airline globally to receive validation from the Science Based Targets initiative for their 2035 GHG emissions reduction targets.

London and California-based ZeroAvia’s goal is to achieve commercialization of hydrogen-electric aircraft by 2024 with an aircraft seating 9-19 passengers with a range of 300 miles using their 600kW engines. The company also hopes to operate commercial flights with 40-80 seats with a range up to 500 miles with their 2,000-5,000kW engines by 2026. By 2030, the 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. ZeroAvia’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.

American Airlines’ purpose is to “Care for People on Life’s Journey.” Shares in the American Airlines Group, Inc., trade on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol AAL and the company’s stock is included in the S&P 500.

Source: American Airlines


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