Indian seaplane operator Mehair – Maritime Energy Heli Air Services – has provisionally ordered up to 20 engines from hydrogen-electric propulsion specialist ZeroAvia.
The ZA600 engines are intended to retrofit a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft.
Mehair had previously signed an agreement with UK financing and leasing company Monte which is aiming to facilitate transition to sustainable-operations technology.
The agreement sought to explore conversion of Mehair’s fleet to zero-emission propulsion.
Mehair has already ordered up to 50 of Swiss-based Jetka’s PHA-ZE 100 electric amphibious aircraft.
The operator has been serving regional routes in India, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, for over a decade.
It says it will “explore a range of options” to finance the engine acquisition and retrofit with Monte as its leasing partner for the powerplants, and work with ZeroAvia on establishing fuel supplies.
“We believe we need to find sustainable ways to power our operations in the future, and we’re excited by what ZeroAvia’s technology offers and the progress demonstrated so far,” says Mehair managing director Siddharth Verma.
ZeroAvia is looking to certify the ZA600 by the end of next year, and says it is working with various regulators on the issue.
“Hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion can offer lower operating costs and zero-emission flight, driving a rapid increase in regional aviation and support dramatic expansion of Mehair’s operations,” says chief customer officer James Peck.