Universal Hydrogen and Connect Airlines agree to convert regional aircraft to hydrogen
The order places Connect firmly in the vanguard of the march to get aviation on a path to meeting Paris Agreement emissions targets.
Universal Hydrogen and Connect Airlines (a division of Waltzing Matilda Aviation) announce firm order for xonversion of 75 ATR 72-600 regional aircraft to be powered by green hydrogen agreement, which also includes purchase rights for 25 additional aircraft conversions, places Connect Airlines on a trajectory to be the world’s first zero-emission passenger airline
Deliveries will start in 2025. The agreement follows an initial letter of intent (LOI) between the companies announced in 2021.
In addition to a hydrogen conversion kit for the ATR 72-600, the most popular in-production regional turboprop on the market, Universal Hydrogen offers hydrogen fuel services to airports using a modular capsule technology that enables the transport and handling of hydrogen using the existing intermodal freight network and cargo handling equipment.
This eliminates the need for costly and lengthy airport infrastructure upgrades and makes nearly every airport in the world hydrogen-ready. As part of today’s agreement, Universal Hydrogen will provide fuel services to the Connect fleet enabling operating unit economics that are equivalent or better than those of hydrocarbon-powered ATR 72s from the very first delivery in 2025.
John Thomas, CEO of Connect Airlines, said, “We have committed to being the world’s first true zero-emission airline, and the only way to accomplish this in the near term is with hydrogen.”
Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, said, “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.”