Hollister, CA, United States, July 30, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / ZeroAvia will explore converting Cessna Caravan Seaplanes using its hydrogen-electric propulsion technology, already flight tested in six-seat PAX airframe and with 19-seat testbed flight at Farnborough International Airshow, July 21, 2022: ZeroAvia, the leader in developing zero-emission solutions for commercial aviation, today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner with The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) to test and develop zero-emission travel across a new luxury tourism destination with a focus on environmental sustainability and regeneration.
TRSDC plans to operate a fleet of around 30 seaplane variants of the Cessna Caravan to transport guests across the destination. ZeroAvia has been commissioned to explore retrofitting the planes with its powertrain technology and test its viability for offering clean, commercial travel.
Under the deal, TRSDC and ZeroAvia will work together to develop the technology, including collaborating on a roadmap for delivering the production, supply and infrastructure necessary to support hydrogen-powered air travel in Saudi Arabia.
The partnership is part of TRSDC’s ambition to offer fully sustainable connectivity across its destination, including zero-emission flights.
John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC, said:
“In order to achieve our ambitions, we’ve had to become much more than a real estate developer. We are an incubator of ideas, leveraging the most innovative concepts and technologies to help us deliver a new archetype for tourism, which pushes beyond sustainability to deliver regeneration for people and planet. Clean, green transport is fundamental to realizing that aim, which is why we’re working with forward-thinking partners such as ZeroAvia, to bring about a new way of travelling.”
James Peck, VP Business Development at ZeroAvia, said:
“TRSDC recognizes the potential of zero-emission propulsion in ensuring that travel across the resort plays its part in the overall sustainability ambitions of the project. Trialing ZeroAvia’s 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrains for the Caravan means tourists could be taking these zero-emission flights to the destination by the middle of this decade.”
ZeroAvia has identified hydrogen-electric powertrains—where fuel cells use hydrogen in a chemical reaction to generate electricity which powers electric motors—as the most practical, economical, and furthest reaching solution for reducing aviation’s climate change and clean air impacts. The development of the 600kW powertrain is part of Project HyFlyer II, supported in part by an Aerospace Technology Institute grant from the UK Government.
Andreas Flourou, Executive Director, Operations – Mobility at TRSDC, said:
“As we gear up to welcome our first guests early next year, the topic of smart and sustainable mobility is a hot one. We are actively engaging with industry-leading partners to help us identify and deliver the solutions we need spanning land, sea and air transportation. ZeroAvia is a leader in supplying zero-emission aircraft and we’re excited to bring them on board as a valuable partner as we seek to create the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destination.”
TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury, regenerative tourism destination that will set new standards in sustainable development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map. The company mandate has recently evolved, and the portfolio of projects being developed by the organization is expanding, most recently with the acquisition of AMAALA, further north on the Red Sea coast.
ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen-electric propulsion solutions as the most practical, economical, and furthest reaching solution for reducing aviation’s climate change and clean air impacts. This starts with a 600kW system, targeting certification to support commercial operations of 9–19 seat aircraft, including the Cessna Caravan, flying 300 nautical miles as early as 2024. The company is concurrently working on a powertrain for 40–80 seat aircraft with up to 1,000 nm range for market entry in 2026.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting a 300-mile range in 10–20 seat aircraft by 2024, and up to 1000-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2026. Based in the UK and USA, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two-prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, secured a number of key partnerships with major aircraft OEMs and major global airlines, and is on track for commercial operations in 2024. The company’s expanding UK operations are supported by grants from UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council.
The Red Sea Development Company is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury, regenerative tourism destination that will set new standards in sustainable development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.
The project is being developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands. The destination also features sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. It is designed to include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use, as well as a circular waste management system to achieve zero waste to landfill.
Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023. The project has surpassed significant milestones, with over 1,000 contracts signed to date, worth in excess SAR 25 bn ($6.7 bn).
The 100-hectare Landscape Nursery, which will provide more than 25 million plants for The Red Sea Project and AMAALA, is now fully operational. There are more than 20,000 workers currently on-site and 90km of new roads are now complete. The Construction Village and the Waste Management Centre are both fully operational and development is progressing well at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will eventually work at the destination.