ZeroAvia Hydroelectric Seaplanes in Saudi Arabia? 

A ZeroAvia Cessna Caravan in Saudi Arabia.
Image Credit: ZeroAvia

LONDON – Saudi Arabia’s ‘The Red Sea Development Company’ goes electric and ambitiously appoints ZeroAvia to Develop Zero-Emission Flights for Bespoke Tourism.

ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric Cessna Caravan

Californian-based ZeroAvia is exploring the possibilities of converting Cessna Caravan seaplanes to be hydrogen-electric powered capable in near future. The hydrogen-electric technology has already been tested in a six-seat passenger aircraft, and soon a 19-seater aircraft is to be tested.

ZeroAvia and The Red Sea Development Compay (TRSDC) together signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to develop and create one of the Middle East’s most ambitious zero-emission travel schemes, with a high focus on environmental sustainability, regeneration and carbon-neutral tourism. 

Ambitiously, TRSDC is eying the possibility of incorporating 30 seaplane variants of the modified famous Cessna Caravan to shuttle guests to respective destinations in Saudi Arabia.

Zero Avia has been appointed by the Saudi conglomerate to explore the possibilities of retrofitting Cessna Caravan on floats with hydroelectric engines, to ensure its operations are environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral. This will be one of the major carbon-neutral commercial operations in the Kingdom.

As stated on the MOU, TRSDC and ZeroAvia will cooperate together to develop such technology including working jointly to lay out a roadmap for delivering the production of the hydrogen-electric seaplanes and the necessary infrastructure to support its operation in Saudi Arabia.

This venture will support the company’s vision to deliver clean energy and sustainable connectivity across its route network and is also in lieu of the grand ambitions of Saudi Vision 2030.

Management statements

​​CEO of TRSDC, John Pagano, stated with optimism: “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 the planet.”

“Clean, green transport is fundamental to realizing that aim, which is why we’re working with forward-thinking partners such as ZeroAvia, to bring about a new way of travelling.”

VP of Business Development at ZeroAvia, James Peck, said: “TRSDC recognizes the potential of zero-emission propulsion in ensuring that travel across the resort plays its part in the overall sustainability ambitions of the project.”

“Trialling 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.”

Executive Director, Operations – Mobility at TRSDC Andreas Flourou, stated: “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 them on board as a valuable partner as we seek to create the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destination.”

TDC was created to steer the development of the Red Sea Project, which aims to be a luxury, sustainable tourism destination, which will transform Saudi Arabia into a well sought-after luxury travel market in the region. 

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