ZeroAvia 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 along Saudi Arabia's west coast.
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.
TRSDC ceo John Pagano says: “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 realising that aim, which is why we're working with forward-thinking partners such as ZeroAvia, to bring about a new way of travelling.”
ZeroAvia vp business development James Peck adds: “TRSDC recognises 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. This starts with a 600kW system, targeting certification to support commercial operations of nine to 19 seat aircraft, including the Cessna Caravan, flying 300 nautical miles as early as 2024. 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. The company is concurrently working on a powertrain for 40 to 80 seat aircraft with up to 1,000 nm range for market entry in 2026.
TRSDC executive director, operations - mobility Andreas Flourou says: “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 it 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.