ZeroAvia Adds Energy and Aviation Industry Leaders Andy Brown and Christine Ourmières-Widener as Advisors
23 July, 2020, 08:00 BST
— Long-time Shell executive Andy Brown joins to support the company’s bid to develop worldwide hydrogen refueling infrastructure for its hydrogen-electric solutions.
— Long-time airline executive Christine Ourmières-Widener will add 25+ years of top management operator expertise to guide company’s commercial strategy with leading aircraft operators.
LONDON, UK - July 23, 2020 — ZeroAvia, the leading innovator in decarbonising commercial aviation, today announced the addition of two high profile advisors to help guide the company’s efforts to commercialise zero emission flight.
Long-time Shell-executive Andy Brown OBE has invested in the company as a seed investor and will act as an infrastructure advisor to the business, while Christine Ourmières-Widener joins as an airline market advisor. Both will aid the company as it gets closer to its 2023 goal of entering the market with the initial 10-20 seat solutions, and scaling to full-size commercial aircraft thereafter.
The addition of Andy and Christine as advisors follows hot on the heels of a significant leap forward in the company’s programme with the UK’s first ever commercial-scale electric flight, featuring the largest zero-emission aircraft currently flying in Europe. Work is now underway at ZeroAvia’s Cranfield R&D base to prepare for the next stage of flight testing later this summer with longer range.
Andy left Royal Dutch Shell last September after thirty-five years with the company in a variety of key roles. Most recently he led Shell’s upstream division for four years, where he was credited with transforming the entire unit’s operations. In 1999, Andy worked with the leadership team to set up Shell Hydrogen and has long believed in hydrogen’s crucial role in the energy transition. A Cambridge University graduate in Engineering Science, Andy received an OBE in 2012 for services to British-Qatari business relations.
Similarly, Christine left Flybe in July 2019, following the sale of the airline. She has extensive international experience across the aviation, travel and technology sectors. Before leading Flybe she was Chief Global Sales Officer for American Express Global Business Travel. She spent 25 plus years at Air France, with several senior roles, including heading up Air France-KLM’s operations in North America and serving as CEO of Irish regional airline CityJet and overseeing the sale of the business.
Val Miftakhov, CEO, ZeroAvia comments: “While we make enormous strides in R&D that bring zero-emission aviation ever closer to commercial reality, it’s crucial we have the best possible thinking guiding our commercial strategy. Andy and Christine are seasoned industry executives with the right energy and aviation industry experience that can help ZeroAvia as we build a model for zero-emission flight, powered by green hydrogen. Both Andy and Christine demonstrate an enthusiasm for what we are trying to accomplish that is reaffirming and we’re delighted to have them on board.”
Andy Brown OBE comments:
“The role that hydrogen will need to play in the energy transition is rightly gathering more and more attention. I firmly believe that aviation is the sector where real momentum can be created precisely because hydrogen is clearly the best, most practical solution for decarbonisation. ZeroAvia’s roadmap is extremely exciting as it shows a clear pathway to zero-emission commercial aviation within the next five years.”
Christine Ourmières-Widener said:
“The aviation industry needs innovation now to both reduce carbon emissions and operating costs. ZeroAvia’s approach offers the industry an opportunity to start this journey in a meaningful way - not in ten years, but in three. It has the potential to help regional aviation to recover quickly, sustainably and stronger than before. I am looking forward to helping the company and industry on the mission to zero-emission flight.”
Designed as a near-drop-in powertrain replacement for the existing commercial aviation market, ZeroAvia seeks to encourage airframe manufacturers to offer a zero-emission option, instead of conventional fossil fuel turbine engines to their customers. Leveraging existing airframe types, instead of building airplanes from the ground up, also ensures that airline and airport personnel such as pilots and maintenance crews are already familiar with the vast majority of the functionality on a ZeroAvia-powered airplane. The use of existing airframes is also expected to streamline certification and regulatory processes for the ZeroAvia solution.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, flying the world's largest zero-emission aircraft without any fossil fuel support since 2019. The company is focused on hydrogen-powered aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting 500 mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, package delivery, agriculture, and more. Based in London and California, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operations in 2023. The company’s expanding UK operations are partially supported by the grant from UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. For more, please visit ZeroAvia.com, follow @ZeroAvia on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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