Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum has joined forces with Australian company Dovetail Electric Aviation to embark on the conversion of ten of its regional planes to hydrogen power.
Air Nostrum, known for operating Bombardier CRJ regional jets and ATR 72 turboprop aircraft, has not disclosed specific details regarding the aircraft models earmarked for conversion. However, David Doral, the general manager of Dovetail, hinted that the conversion could extend to smaller aircraft, possibly those with around 19 seats. This signals a significant step toward incorporating hydrogen propulsion in regional air travel.
In 2022, Air Nostrum made a strategic investment in Dovetail Electric Aviation and its sister company, Dante Aeronautical. This investment underscores the airline’s commitment to fostering innovative solutions in the aviation sector, particularly those centered around electrification and hydrogen propulsion.
Dovetail’s initial retrofit program focuses on transforming a Cessna Caravan into a fully electric system. Anticipated to undergo flight tests in the last quarter of 2024, the retrofitted aircraft is slated for certification by the end of 2025 or early 2026. Dovetail’s ambitious roadmap includes hydrogen and ground tests for a Beechcraft King Air, featuring a fuel cell powertrain, scheduled for the coming year.
As the aviation industry grapples with the imperative to reduce its carbon footprint, the move to hydrogen-powered aircraft represents a significant stride. Converting regional planes to hydrogen not only aligns with environmental sustainability goals but also positions Air Nostrum as a trailblazer in adopting cutting-edge aviation technologies.