American Airlines has signed a deal with Zeroavia which will see the airline potentially order up to 100 Zeroavia hydrogen-electric engines.

Zeroavia is currently developing certain type certifications of its propulsion technology so that they can eventually be incorporated into the regional jet market. It is hoped by Zeroavia that its ZA2000-RJ powertrain will be powering regional jets as early as the late 2020s.

Last year United Airlines invested in Zeroavia, taking an equity stake and saying it expected to purchase up to 100 of Zeroavia’s zero-emission engines, which could be retrofitted to United Express’ CRJ-550 aircraft as early as 2028.

British Airways is also in a partnership to explore “the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen to power the airline’s future fleet”. BA said that the collaboration will see Zeroavia “embedded in the heart of the airline”, with research and learnings from the process being shared to allow the firms to consider how to progress the partnership in the longer term.

Zeroavia is initially targeting a 300-mile range in 9-19 seat aircraft by 2024, and up to 700-mile range in 40-80 seat aircraft by 2026. Based in the UK and USA, Zeroavia has 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.

“Our investment in Zeroavia’s emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation,” said Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer. “We are excited to contribute to this industry development and look forward to exploring how these engines can support the future of our airline as we build American Airlines to thrive forever.”

“Having support from the world’s largest airline is a strong indication of the progress we’re making on the development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission flight,” added Zeroavia Founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. “We are focused on delivering sustainable travel, and are delighted that American, a visionary leader in the industry, sees Zeroavia as a part of the future of aviation.”

American Airlines recently received the aviation industry’s first-ever Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)-certified sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

It has also recently published its latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) report.