ABOVE: the hydrogen-electric ZA600 engine completed its first round of flight testing earlier this year 

ZeroAvia, designer and developer of the hydrogen-electric ZA600 powertrain, has signed an agreement with newly launched airline Ecojet for up to 70 zero-emission engines.

First announced in July 2023 by entrepreneur Dale Vince OBE, Ecojet has plans to become the world’s first electric airline and aims to be what ZeroAvia describes as the ‘flag carrier for green Britain’. It will commence operations in 2024 with conventionally-powered aircraft before retrofitting its fleet with ZeroAvia’s proprietary hydrogen-electric ZA600 powertrains (once certified).

The acquisition of its ZA600 engines will be assisted by low-emission regional aviation lessor MONTE, ZeroAvia’s preferred lessor partner. Together, the three parties will work together ‘with airports and other industry partners, to identify and finance the first pathways to hydrogen-electric commercial operations,’ notes ZeroAvia, who have also signed a separate deal to retrofit Spanish operator Surcar Airlines’ Twin Otter seaplanes.

In June 2023, ZeroAvia signed a definitive purchase agreement with MONTE for 100 engines, with the latter providing financing for purchase, installation of the powertrain. Under the new partnership, Ecojet will become the lessor’s first confirmed customer. “We are excited to be working with an operator that is aligned with our goals of decarbonizing regional aviation,” commented Rishi Majithia, Head of Investment at MONTE.

Ecojet has also placed a larger order for the more powerful ZA2000 engine, designed for an to 80 seat regional turboprops (such as the ATR72 and Dash 8 400), which has a targeted entry into service of 2027.