One of the largest airlines in the world, American Airlines, has strengthened its investment in hydrogen aviation with a conditional order for 100 hydrogen-electric aircraft engines from ZeroAvia. 

American has also increased its investment into the aircraft developer after participating in its Series C financing round, building on a relationship that stems back to 2022.  

Robert Isom, CEO of American, said: “Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion. 

“This announcement will help accelerate the development of technologies needed to power our industry and uphold our commitment to make American a sustainable airline.” 

Investment into ZeroAvia’s novel technology is part of American’s sustainability plans which aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for its operations by 2050 through investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel and hydrogen tech.

While the exact conditions of the agreement were not revealed, the order is likely dependent on adherence to ZeroAvia’s roadmap which expects a hydrogen engine for 100-200 seat aircraft, where most of American’s fleet lies, available in 2029. 

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ZeroAvia CEO Val Miftakhov said: “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.” 

Founded in 2018, ZeroAvia is one of the companies closest to bringing hydrogen aircraft technology to a commercial level, with its ZA600 500-700Kw engine for 10-20 seat aircraft in the middle of flight testing and expected to be launched in 2025. 

Its engine technology uses hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity used to power electric motors and turn an aircraft’s propellers, producing water vapor as its only inflight emission. 

The company’s Series C funding round was initially completed at the end of 2023 and saw investment from a range of notable companies including Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and Saudi Arabian megaproject NEOM.