British Airways joined a list of investors in ZeroAvia, a company that is looking to develop a fleet of hydrogen-powered aircraft, as it looks to operate a zero-emissions free short-haul fleet by 2050.

ZeroAvia announced on March 31, 2021, that its latest round of investment, which had the goal to kick-start the development program for a 2MW hydrogen-electric engine for a full-size regional aircraft, gathered $24.3 million of fresh investment into the company. Two new investors joined the company, namely British Airways and Horizons Ventures, joining existing investors in ZeroAvia. The company indicated that it had raised a total of $53 million in private investment funds, bringing the total funding since the inception of ZeroAvia to $74 million.

“Innovative zero-emissions technology is advancing fast, and we support the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source because we believe it has the potential to enable us to reach true zero emissions on short-haul routes by 2050,“ commented on the investment the chief executive officer (CEO) of British Airways, Sean Doyle. “There is a huge amount of energy and excitement building around the possibilities of a zero-emissions future for aviation.” Doyle also highlighted that while there was no single solution for aviation to become a zero-emission industry, the company acknowledged that urgent action was needed.

According to ZeroAvia, the company has the goal to launch its hydrogen-powered engine into the commercial market as early as 2024, with a regional aircraft capable of flying 500 nautical miles (NM (926 kilometers), seating between 10 and 20 passengers. In the future, ZeroAvia plans to develop several aircraft with a variety of range and capacity capabilities, including a more than 200 seat machine, capable of flying more than 5,000 NM (9260 kilometers).

In September 2020, ZeroAvia completed its maiden flight with a commercial aircraft powered by a hydrogen-cell.

“It’s hard to put into words what this means to our team, but also for everybody interested in zero-emission flight,” at the time commented the CEO of ZeroAvia, Val Miftakhov.

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The Californian startup ZeroAvia claims to have completed the world’s first flight of a commercial-grade aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.