The order comes after the companies announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (LoI) to create the US’ ‘first zero-emission airline’ in 2021.
An initial 75 conversion kits are due to start being delivered in 2025, with the order allowing purchase rights for an additional 25 conversions.
As part of the agreement, Universal Hydrogen will provide fuel services to the Connect fleet, enabling what the company says will be operating economics that are equivalent or better than those of hydrocarbon-powered ATR 72s from the first delivery.
Paul Eremenko, Co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, said, “This order places Connect firmly in the vanguard of the march to get aviation on a path to meeting Paris Agreement emissions targets.
“This march will very soon need to turn into a sprint if the industry has any hope of decarbonising in time without having to curtail the growth in passenger volumes.
“We will need to convert most of the regional fleet in the 2020s and ensure that the new narrowbody aircraft built in the 2030s are hydrogen-powered, there is no other way to get there.”
Boston-based Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) is a jet charter operator in the certification process to add a regional air carrier, under its brand, Connect Airlines, in the hope of delivery quieter, cleaner, and healthier air travel.
John Thomas, CEO of Connect Airlines, said, “We see the partnership with Universal Hydrogen as the fastest path to zero-emission operation because they offer both an affordable retrofit solution for the existing airplane fleet, as well as a pragmatic approach to delivering hydrogen to any airport in our route network.
“With this technology and its economics, we easily anticipate our appetite growing to over 800 airplanes in this class to support the growth of our route network across North America.”
North American Hydrogen Summit
H2 View is taking its events platform to America’s original clean hydrogen hub of California. Together with the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), we will stage our North American Hydrogen Summit in San Francisco on July 14-15.
As our summit theme Building Bridges: Hydrogen hubs and investment suggests, the event will explore the $8bn of funding announced to create at least four regional hydrogen hubs in the US. These hubs will turbo-charge the nation’s progress toward heavy trucking and industrial sectors that run without producing carbon pollution – and they may just provide the path forward to a hydrogen-fuelled future.
With California and Texas vying to be America’s hydrogen capital today, where are the hubs of tomorrow? Further still, what can other states, and countries, learn from California’s success story? And how can we build bridges to a successful flow of international investment?
If you are a member of the CaFCP, be sure to grab your ticket at a discounted rate with a code that can be provided to you by the events team.
Full information about this event including attendance and sponsorship packages can be found here.