UK-based startup ZeroAvia, which has developed a hydrogen-electric aviation powertrain, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FEAM Aero, a California aviation maintenance (MRO) supplier. 

The agreement paves the way for the firms to explore how FEAM Aero’s expertise can assist ZeroAvia if its certification application is successful and it can begin production on its claimed “thousands of powertrain pre-orders.” 

The green aviation company said it is “preparing a network that can support operators in converting their fleets to zero-emission propulsion systems and then provide the required maintenance support.”  

While ZeroAvia’s first design, currently undergoing its regulator process, is for 9-19 seater aircraft, it noted that FEAM Aero already services Dash 8 and CRJ fleets which could be retrofitted with its second system for larger planes. 

Alongside the exploration of MRO services for hydrogen-electric powertrains, FEAM Aero will look into the possibility of building a green hydrogen production facility at one of its US sites in partnership with the British startup.  

James Peck, chief customer officer at ZeroAvia said the development of zero-emission aviation was a “big opportunity” for the entire ecosystem.

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“Fuel cell and electric propulsion systems will keep aircraft flying longer, but the improved economics and drastically reduced environmental impact also mean that there will be more flying, so there is a big opportunity for MRO providers in this transition.”  

“ZeroAvia needs to partner to build the network that can support our customers who are already planning their switch away from combustion engines and FEAM Aero has an exceptional track record of service and an uncompromising focus on safety and quality, as well as strong alignment with ZeroAvia’s values,” he added. 

Meanwhile, FEAM Aero’s chief strategy officer Dan Allawat said the MRO firm was keen to be involved as the industry moves forward. 

“We like to say that aviation is an industry where staying in motion is the only thing that matters, but aviation faces a number of challenges that potentially threaten growth. ZeroAvia is a leading innovator in clean aviation that is rapidly advancing towards certification for a system that can solve some of these challenges, so we’re excited to explore what this means for MRO and training in the years to come.”