On April 21, Britten-Norman, the iconic Islander aircraft manufacturer and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, developers of hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion technology, signed a merger agreement.
The Heads of Terms agreement, signals a merger which will eventually create the world’s first fully integrated, zero emissions sub regional aircraft for service entry in 2026.
The proposed merger is anticipated to be complete in mid-2023, though it is all currently subject to final due diligence.
It will mark the creation of a UK based global leader in green flight, and will see an investment of up to GBP 10 million by current Cranfield Aerospace Solutions shareholders.
An attempt to speed up the zero-emission transition
The global aviation industry has now effectively seen a new entrant in the zero-emission sector, as Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions signed a Heads of Terms agreement to merge the companies into one.
This effectively creates the world’s first fully integrated zero-emission sub regional aircraft for entry into service in year 2026.
Fnding will be led by HydrogenOneCapital Growth Plc (HydrogenOne), a consortium of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, HydrogenOne, Safran Corporate Ventures and the UAE-based investment firm Strategic Development Fund (SDF).
The conglomerate will provide an investment of up to GBP 10 million in the new company, including an additional GBP 5 million provided by HydrogenOne, once the merger is finished.
The new entity is responding to the ever growing demand from worldwide airlines and operators for OEM-backed aircraft with the possibilities of enabling their move to zero-emissions operations.
The pairing combines Cranfield Aerospace’s hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system development and the existing Britten-Norman Islander, a nine-seater regional aircraft used by operators globally on inter-island and short hop services.
This means a clear and unambiguous route to market has been created, and the planned passenger-carrying certification is set to 2026.
Commenting, Paul Hutton, Cranfield Aerospace Chief Executive, said: “This deal accelerates our roadmap for the introduction of new zero-emissions aircraft.”
“As other sectors decarbonise quickly, it is imperative that the aviation industry accelerates its own transition to new, clean aircraft.”
“Looking to the future we will use the combined experience of Cranfield Aerospace and Britten-Norman to produce an entirely new aircraft design, optimised around hydrogen fuel cell technology.”
Chief Executive of Britten-Norman, William Hynett also commented, saying:
“The merging of Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions will create a new market leader in green aircraft manufacturing, bringing together joint strengths in aerospace manufacturing, certification and innovation.”
“The investment will give a huge boost to UK aviation exports and will deliver the first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sub-regional aircraft powered by Hydrogen.”
” This merger will create many new high tech and manufacturing roles across the new business and a host of opportunities for apprenticeships and graduate placements in the sustainable aerospace sector.”
The merge between Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions is destined to create something the regional aviation sector has been on the look for, for quite some time.
With both companies having collaborated previously over the past two years, this is taking it to the next level.
Both companies is so far with this agreement also seeing enormous support and trust, as the previously mentioned investors are placing great sums of money into the merger, displaying their trust in the program.