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Press Release

Universal Hydrogen Announces Strategic Agreement with Air New Zealand to Deliver True Zero Emission Solution for Regional Aviation

Published by Todd Bush on February 8, 2023

LOS ANGELES & AUCKLAND, New Zealand-- Universal Hydrogen Co., whose mission is to make hydrogen aviation a near-term reality, today announced it has signed a strategic agreement with Air New Zealand as part of the airline’s expanding Mission Next Gen Aircraft program. Air New Zealand has today named Universal Hydrogen to its long-term partner program as it seeks to find sustainable solutions for its fleet.

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Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin says the airline has bold sustainability goals that won’t be met by a ‘business as usual’ approach. “Mission Next Gen Aircraft aims to accelerate the technology and infrastructure needed to decarbonize our domestic flights, by joining forces with the world’s leading aircraft developers, innovators, and infrastructure providers. We want to be a leader in the roll out of zero emissions aircraft in New Zealand. Having Universal Hydrogen as one of our long-term partners will grow our collective understanding of zero emissions aircraft technology as it develops and will give them the confidence they are developing a product that’s well-suited for our fleet.”

Universal Hydrogen is developing a solution to convert existing regional airplanes to fly on hydrogen and to supply hydrogen to the fleet using a modular fueling approach, which eliminates the need for new airport infrastructure, speeds up the fueling operation, and reduces transfer losses throughout the hydrogen delivery chain. On completion of testing and certification, Universal Hydrogen’s conversion kits could be installed in Air New Zealand’s regional fleet.

“As the second-largest turboprop operator in the world, Air New Zealand is a trendsetter for the industry,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “We fully expect other airlines to follow in Air New Zealand’s footsteps toward a true zero emissions solution for their fleets. We’re thrilled to be selected alongside Air New Zealand’s other long-term partners—Airbus, ATR, Embraer, and Heart Aerospace—to quickly address aviation’s contributions to the climate crisis.”

About Universal Hydrogen 

Universal Hydrogen is building a hydrogen logistics network to fuel the future of aviation today. Hydrogen is the ideal fuel for flight and will power aviation’s new golden age, where planes are powered by renewables and emit nothing but water. The company’s modular hydrogen capsules move over the existing freight network from production directly to the airplane anywhere in the world. Universal Hydrogen is also working to certify a powertrain conversion kit to retrofit existing regional aircraft to fly on hydrogen. The company has gathered the world’s leading aviation and hydrogen talent to give the industry the option of clean flight, forever.

About Air New Zealand 

Air New Zealand’s story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat – a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It’s a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand’s global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World’s Safest Airline by the Australian rating service, highlighting the airline’s laser-focus on safety. This year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row. Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework helps guide the airline’s efforts in tackling some of New Zealand’s and the world’s most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.

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