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American Airlines invests in zero-emission future

ZeroAvia, developers of zero-emission, hydrogen-electric aviation powertrain systems, is adding American Airlines to its growing list of investors as the company works toward FAA certification.

ZeroAvia’s second twin-engine, 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft at the company’s headquarters in Hollister, California. Photo courtesy of ZeroAvia.

American Airlines announced its investment in U.K.- and U.S.-based ZeroAvia on August 3, and a memorandum of understating between the companies provides American Airlines the option to order up to 100 of ZeroAvia’s zero-emission, hydrogen-electric powertrain engines currently in development.

“Our investment in ZeroAvia’s emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation,” said Derek Kerr, American Airlines chief financial officer. “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.”

“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,” ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov said. “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.”

American Airlines’ investment comes less than three months after ZeroAvia announced its collaboration with Mitsubishi’s Canada-based MHI RJ Aviation Group. The two companies plan to retrofit CRJ series aircraft with ZeroAvia’s ZA2000-RJ powertrain currently in development.

“ZeroAvia is working to achieve certain type certifications of its innovative propulsion technology that will pave the way for the engines to be incorporated into the regional jet market in the future,” American Airlines said in its statement. “The ZA2000-RJ powertrain is anticipated to enable passengers to fly in zero-emission regional jets as early as the late 2020s.”

American Airlines and Mitsubishi aren’t the only companies investing money and resources in a hydrogen-electric future. Recent investments from United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Ravn Alaska, and International Airlines Group as well as sustainability players like Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, Saudi smart city NEOM, and investment company AENU have earned the company more than $68 million in investments in its second round of financing.

The investments come on the heels of the company’s recent changes to its testing and safety protocols following the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s accident report of the off-airport, emergency landing of its hydrogen-powered Piper PA 46-350P Malibu Mirage test aircraft.

The company is also working to expand its U.S. initiative. Earlier this year, ZeroAvia took delivery of its second twin-engine Dornier 228 aircraft at its Hollister, California, location. That new aircraft will be integrated with the same system used in the company’s 19-seat, U.K. HyFlyer II project, and will be used for testing as the company works toward certification of its 600-kW hydrogen-electric powerplant, the ZA600.

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.

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