The operator of Jersey Airport is set to collaborate with regional airline Blue Islands and California-based start-up Universal Hydrogen on transforming aviation in the Channel Islands with hydrogen.

The US company has signed a letter of intent with the airline outlining a plan to employ Universal Hydrogen’s aircraft conversion kits to convert five of its ATR 72s. The agreement – which is subject to certification, technical and commercial conditions – also covers the provision of fuel services to supply hydrogen modular capsules, removing the need to change existing airport infrastructure.

Ports of Jersey has agreed to work with the US company to support Blue Islands’ operation, including hydrogen provision, airport ground handling and storage, operating procedures, and supporting regulatory requirements.

The parties will collaborate on sourcing hydrogen, with Universal Hydrogen taking the lead on supply and delivery logistics. Ports of Jersey says the collaboration will stimulate demand for hydrogen on the island and ensure that new hydrogen infrastructure is not a barrier to decarbonising aviation, as well as the other transportation applications that Ports of Jersey support.

“Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges of our times and, for anyone involved in the travel industry, the conversation is not an easy one,” said Matt Thomas, CEO of Ports of Jersey. “Every airport has a hugely important role to play, and we will play ours. As part of our ‘Ports Planet and People Plan’ that we shared earlier this year, we are committed to meaningful action that makes a difference, and we are making really encouraging progress. 

“Coming together with industry partners, government and our customers, we can have a much bigger impact. The speed of the innovation needed to achieve zero emission flights is incredible and it is gathering pace. This partnership aligns perfectly with our objectives and our commitment to ensure that Jersey plays its part in the decarbonisation of aviation.”

Universal Hydrogen hopes to be able to provide a true zero solution for Blue Islands’ services as early as 2025.