Universal Hydrogen Co., the company leading the fight to decarbonize aviation through the adoption of hydrogen as a universal fuel, and smarter startup airline Connect Airlines, today announced they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for new green-energy propulsion that will enable Connect to soon become the first zero-emission US-based airline.
Universal Hydrogen is making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality. Connect Airlines, a division of Waltzing Matilda Aviation, is in the final stages of its Department of Transportation certification process as a regularly scheduled airline and will begin service in the spring of 2022. Together, Universal Hydrogen and Connect Airlines will work to introduce true-zero emission regional aircraft into service in North America starting in 2025.
Connect Airlines has committed to purchase 24 of Universal Hydrogen’s green hydrogen conversion kits, consisting of a firm order for 12 Dash 8-300 kits and purchase rights for 12 additional kits of other aircraft types. The conversion kits consist of a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain compatible with Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule technology. For these aircraft, Universal Hydrogen targets installation of its conversion kits by 2025 and will subsequently supply green hydrogen fuel to the Connect Airlines fleet under a long-term agreement.
Connect Airlines will soon launch service using its “GreenJet” Dash 8 turboprop aircraft which will reduce fuel consumption and carbon footprint by approximately 35 percent versus the regional jets it replaces. The Connect Airlines fleet will transition to a true zero emission operation after adopting Universal Hydrogen’s technology.
“Connect Airlines flies smarter, that’s why we’re excited to partner with Universal Hydrogen to pursue our goal of being the first zero-emission airline in the United States,” said John Thomas, CEO, Connect Airlines. “In addition to this LOI, we were pleased to participate in Universal Hydrogen’s recent $62 million financing round.”
“The US is a laggard in its decarbonization efforts, and the US aviation industry is no exception,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “That is why the bold step that Connect Airlines is making in being the first airline to commit to true zero-emissions operation in the relatively near term is so monumentally important.”