American Airlines Advances Sustainable Aviation with Purchase of 100 Hydrogen-Electric Engines from ZeroAvia

American Airlines has recently confirmed a conditional purchase agreement with the clean aviation company, ZeroAvia, for the procurement of 100 hydrogen-electric engines. These engines, known for their potential to achieve zero inflight emissions except for water vapor, are designed to power regional jet aircraft. This agreement marks a significant advancement in the airline’s commitment to sustainable aviation.

In a parallel move, American Airlines has also augmented its investment in ZeroAvia, building on its initial financial engagement from 2022. This enhanced partnership includes participation in ZeroAvia’s Series C financing round, following a Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities announced last year.

ZeroAvia is at the forefront of developing hydrogen-electric (fuel cell-powered) engines for commercial aircraft. These engines are currently undergoing flight tests on a prototype designed for a 20-seat plane, with plans to develop a version suitable for larger aircraft, such as the Bombardier CRJ700, operated by American on certain regional routes.

American Airlines’ CEO, Robert Isom, highlighted the strategic importance of this collaboration: “Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion,” he said. “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.”

The investment and commitment to purchase these novel engines align with American’s ambitious target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In its pursuit of sustainability, American has undertaken the most extensive fleet renewal in the history of commercial aviation, leading to the youngest mainline fleet among major U.S. network carriers, enhancing fuel efficiency.

Further emphasizing the airline’s commitment to sustainability, American has finalized an offtake agreement with Infinium, a producer of next-generation low-carbon sustainable aviation fuel, and has engaged with Graphyte’s innovative carbon removal process.

Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, commented on the partnership’s progression, stating, “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’s technology harnesses hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity that powers electric motors, turning the aircraft’s propellers. This innovative approach results in the emission of only low-temperature water vapor, offering a promising avenue for significant cost reductions through lower-intensity electrical systems.

About ZeroAvia: ZeroAvia aims to revolutionize aviation through electric propulsion, focusing on developing hydrogen-electric engines. The company is nearing the certification of its first powertrain for up to 20-seat planes by the end of 2025 and is working on a larger powertrain suitable for 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027.

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