American Airlines invests more in ZeroAvia, commits to purchase 100 hydrogen-electric engines

Popular US flight operator American Airlines is continuing its venture into more sustainable air travel by increasing its investment in Hydrogen-electric aviation technology developer ZeroAvia. Building off a previous Memorandum of Understanding, American has also (conditionally) committed to purchasing 100 hydrogen-electric plane engines from ZeroAvia for regional flights.

Over the last decade, ZeroAvia has grown from an obscure aviation startup to a bonafide sustainable plane technology developer that is soaring closer than ever to delivering commercial operations of hydrogen-electric planes.

The company is currently a few years away from its goal of delivering 40—to 80-seat aircraft with up to 700 miles of range by 2027 and has garnered the trust (and vital funding) of some heavy hitters in the segment to keep development going.

2023 included several new partnerships and a fresh round of funding led by Airbus, Barclays, and Saudi Arabia’s “living laboratory,” NEOM. In late November, ZeroAvia announced a deal to provide up to 70 zero-emission planes to sustainable startup airline EcoJet, which looks to become the world’s first all-electric airline.

In 2022, ZeroAvia secured over $30 million in funding, including investments from American Airlines, which joined Alaska Airlines and United in the hydrogen-electric plane venture.

Today, American Airlines has committed to a large purchase of zero-emissions engines from ZeroAvia alongside a fresh investment in the technology to keep… propelling it forward.

American Airlines electric
Source: ZeroAvia

American Airlines sees air travel going hydrogen-electric

ZeroAvia has gained a fresh confidence booster today as American Airlines has committed further investment in it alongside plans to purchase and implement hydrogen-electric engines on regional aircraft in the future.

Building off its 2022 investment, American has now joined ZeroAvia’s Series C funding round, although the exact amount has not yet been disclosed. Per American CEO Robert Isom:

Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion. This announcement will help accelerate the development of technologies needed to power our industry and uphold our commitment to make American a sustainable airline so we can continue to deliver for customers for decades to come.

Additionally, American Airlines says it is also building off a Memorandum of Understanding signed alongside ZeroAvia in 2022, which entails the conditional purchase of 100 hydrogen-electric engines it intends to use to power its fleet of regional jet aircraft. American states that the fresh investment and purchase commitment are part of its “aggressive goal” to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov also spoke:

In signing this purchase agreement and furthering its investment, American is supporting our mission of innovation for clean aircraft propulsion and it is a good signal that ZeroAvia is delivering on our technology roadmap. The solutions that can serve the largest airlines are within reach, and the clean future of flight is coming

ZeroAvia has already secured experimental flight certificates from the CAA in the UK and the FAA in the US and completed a successful first flight with a 19-passenger hydrogen-electric plane. The hydrogen-electric aviation specialist is continuing those flight tests with its prototype while simultaneously designing an engine for larger aircraft like the Bombardier CRJ700, which American Airlines currently operates on certain regional routes.

Other projects include a 76-seat hydrogen-electric plane for Alaska Airlines, as well as cryo-compressed hydrogen fuel that may enable longer-range air travel in the future.

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