Torres Strait Air has signed a three-party agreement with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) and MONTE Aircraft Leasing, to introduce hydrogen-powered flights to Australia and open the pathway to zero-emission aviation in Australia.
The agreement began after Torres Strait Air signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) and the deal involves Torres Strait Air working with CAeS and MONTE to convert 10 Britten-Norman Islander aircrafts into hydrogen-electric power crafts. Both CAeS and MONTE will support Torres Strait Air, MONTE will provide the funding to Torres to enable the conversion of the existing aircrafts, whilst CAeS will support the project through applying its hydrogen-electric propulsion system technology to the plane.
This change will allow Torres Strait Air, who currently have a fleet of 11 aircrafts, to provide the Torres Strait community with the ability to travel with a zero-emissions option from Horn Island.
The CEO at Torres Strait Air, Daniel Takai, said, “This partnership with CAeS and MONTE Aircraft Leasing is the commencement of Torres Strait Air’s journey towards a more sustainable future for Torres Strait and its people.”
This agreement follows the partnership created between CAeS and MONTE in 2022, when MONTE bought 40 modification kits from CAeS through a LOI. This commitment was viewed positively by MONTE’s Chief Operation Officer, who said that the agreements formed with CAeS and now Torres Strait Air are a great benefit for MONTE as they portray the company’s “commitment to supporting regional aviation operators globally with their sustainability goals.”
Back in August CAeS announced that they planned to convert a normal Britten Norman Islander aircraft to hydrogen propulsion during Project Fresson. This aircraft will act as a demonstration, with a test flight estimated in 2024. The plan is for this to lead to a hydrogen version being certified for entry into commercial service in 2026.