Universal Hydrogen and Connect Airlines join forces to create America’s first zero-emission airline

Universal Hydrogen Co. and Connect Airlines have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for new green-energy propulsion that will enable Connect to become the first zero-emission U.S. airline.

Universal Hydrogen is making commercial flights powered by hydrogen a reality in the near future. Connect Airlines, a branch of Waltzing Matilda Aviation, is in the final stages of obtaining Department of Transportation certification as a regularly scheduled airline and will launch service in the spring of 2022. Starting in 2025, Universal Hydrogen and Connect Airlines will collaborate to introduce zero-emission regional aircraft to North America.

Connect Airlines has committed to purchasing 24 green hydrogen conversion kits from Universal Hydrogen, including a definite commitment for 12 Dash 8-300 kits and buy rights for 12 kits of other aircraft types. The conversion kits include a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain compatible with the modular capsule technology of Universal Hydrogen. Universal Hydrogen plans to put its conversion kits on these aircraft by 2025 and will thereafter supply green hydrogen fuel to the Connect Airlines fleet under a long-term arrangement.

Connect Airlines will shortly begin operation with its “GreenJet” Dash 8 turboprop aircraft, which will lower fuel usage and carbon impact by about 35 percent compared to the regional jets it replaces. After adopting the technology of Universal Hydrogen, the Connect Airlines fleet will move to a zero-emissions operation.

“Connect Airlines flies smarter, that’s why we’re excited to partner with Universal Hydrogen to pursue our goal of being the first zero-emission airline in the United States,” said John Thomas, CEO, Connect Airlines. “In addition to this LOI, we were pleased to participate in Universal Hydrogen’s recent $62 million financing round.”

“The US is a laggard in its decarbonization efforts, and the US aviation industry is no exception,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “That is why the bold step that Connect Airlines is making in being the first airline to commit to true zero-emissions operation in the relatively near term is so monumentally important.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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