American Airlines has made an undisclosed investment in ZeroAvia, a start-up developing hydrogen-electric powertrain technology for aeroplanes.

The investment is said to underline the carrier’s commitment to attaining its climate objectives, which include the 2050 target for net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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

“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.”

In addition, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will allow the airline to order up to 100 units of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric zero-emission engines for regional aircraft.

The firm is presently working to secure certain types of certifications for its propulsion technology so that it can be eventually incorporated into the regional jet market.

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By GlobalData

It aims to launch commercial operations in 2024 with the ZA600 powertrain, which is designed to support 9-19 seat aircraft, while the ZA2000 powertrain will be able to support 40-seat and 80-seat aeroplanes by 2026.

Last month, ZeroAvia collaborated with Canada’s Edmonton International Airport (YEG) to develop hydrogen infrastructure for zero-emission flights.

In April, it partnered with ZEV Station to set up refuelling infrastructure at airports in California, US.

ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov said: “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.

“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.”

In April, American Airlines Group invested $200m in Brazilian airline GOL to pick a 5.3% stake.