Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), Monte Aircraft Leasing and Australian charter operator Torres Strait Air have signed a three-way agreement covering the conversion of up to 10 Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders to hydrogen-electric power.

Torres Strait recently disclosed a tentative commitment with Britten-Norman for 10 conventionally powered Islanders in a deal valued at $25 million.

Torres Strait Air new Islander

Source: Britten-Norman

Torres Strait Air has agreement with Britten-Norman for 10 new-build Islanders

Monte has now agreed to provide the financing for the conversion of those aircraft, which will gain the fuel cell-based powertrain currently being developed by CAeS.

The lessor in 2022 signed a letter of intent for the purchase of 40 hydrogen conversion kits from CAeS.

Service entry for the new propulsion system is scheduled for 2026. No schedule for the conversion of Torres Strait’s Islanders has been disclosed, however.

Announcing the agreement with Torres Strait in late August, Britten-Norman said it had been concluded under its “Green Futures” scheme, through which customers of new-build aircraft will be able to trade them in for hydrogen-powered examples at a later date. 

CAeS has since April been pursuing a merger with Britten-Norman, although a deadline to finalise that tie-up has since been paused, with the pair instead hoping to strike a strategic partnering agreement.