Australian air charter company Torres Strait Air is to take 10 Britten-Norman Islander aircraft converted to hydrogen-electric power by Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) in a three-party agreement with Monte Aircraft Leasing.

The deal comes shortly after Torres Strait Air signed a letter of intent for 10 new conventional Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

Monte will provide financing to Torres Strait Air for the conversion of existing Britten-Norman Islanders, while CAeS will integrate its hydrogen-electric propulsion system technology into the aircraft.

Chief strategy officer at CAeS, Jenny Kavanagh, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding into the Australian market with our world-leading hydrogen propulsion technology, working with Monte to enable Torres Strait Air to bring zero emissions air services to their Islands.”

Britten-Norman Islander aircraft conversions

CAeS and Monte’s partnership, dating back to November 2022 when Monte signed an LOI to purchase 40 modification kits from CAeS, is to bring financing and leasing solutions to sub-regional operators to enable them to adopt zero-emissions aircraft operations.

Chief operating officer at Monte, Timothy Eyre, said: “We are excited to support Torres Strait Air in the decarbonisation of their fleet and look forward to working with our partners at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions on this exciting project. This agreement highlights Monte’s commitment to supporting regional aviation operators globally with their sustainability goals.”

The Britten-Norman Islander deal will enable Torres Strait Air, which currently operates a fleet of eleven aircraft from Horn Island, to serve the air transport needs of the Torres Strait community in a sustainable way.

Chief executive officer at Torres Strait Air, Daniel Takai, said: “This partnership with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Monte Aircraft Leasing is the commencement of Torres Strait Air’s journey towards a more sustainable future for Torres Strait and its people.

“I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working alongside our partners as the technology develops to achieve our goal of zero-carbon emissions in our aviation operations.”
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