Kemble and California based ZeroAvia shapes up for 2022 as it announces new hires

ZeroAvia James McMicking

ZeroAvia, the Gloucestershire and California company driving hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation, has added two new senior hires, and a new member to its advisory board, as it prepares to ramp up growth over the next 12 months.

James McMicking joins as ZeroAvia’s first Vice President of Strategy from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) – the body in charge of developing the technology strategy for the UK aerospace sector. As one of the original executives to set up the ATI, McMicking held several positions throughout the business over seven years, including its Head of Strategy and Operations.

“Through my work, in recent years I have seen first hand the rapid progression of zero-emission technologies for flight, so it is exhilarating to be joining a company that I believe is taking the right approach and is on the path to certification and market adoption in the very near future,” said James McMicking. “True zero-emission technology will reduce aviation’s climate impact, improve air quality around airports and enable better regional connectivity in the future.”

A mechanical engineer by training, James brings experience covering advanced R&D, business and innovation strategy, and transformation. At the ATI, McMicking worked extensively with organisations throughout the aerospace tech sector and UK Government to support world-class research and development, navigate complex strategic challenges and catalyse innovation.

James will be responsible for building a strategic roadmap for the business, both from a commercial and technical point of view to reach its 2024 target, working in collaboration with CEO Val Miftakhov and the rest of the executive team.

Meanwhile, Arnab Chatterjee also joins the business as Vice President of Infrastructure. Prior to ZeroAvia, Chatterjee spent almost a decade at Shell working on low-carbon fuel, digital, e-mobility, and renewable energy solutions in a range of technical, commercial and strategy roles. Most recently, he has been driving Shell’s efforts in hydrogen at a global scale. Chatterjee has a background in chemical product development, venture investments and corporate development. He has a PhD in electrochemistry from the University of Oxford.

At ZeroAvia, Chatterjee will be responsible for working with aviation and energy industry partners to deliver the hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure required to support the adoption of hydrogen-electric propulsion.

Commenting on his new role, Arnab Chatterjee said: “Seeing ZeroAvia’s aircraft in the sky for the first time last year was a real lightning bolt moment, and I have followed the R&D progress closely. With a 19-seat aircraft close to flight testing and commercialisation a little over two years away, ground infrastructure requires equal focus to ensure our success in transforming the future of flight. It is an exciting challenge ahead.”

In addition, joining ZeroAvia’s advisory board is Jim Peterson. An expert in propulsion integration, Peterson brings over 35 years of experience from his time at Boeing where he was Chief Engineer of Propulsion, responsible for integrating engines into various Boeing airframes.

“We’re delighted to have these three remarkable leaders on our team,” commented Val Miftakhov, CEO, ZeroAvia. “Adding strong strategic firepower to the business, as well as industry-leading expertise to continue our rapid R&D advancement, will help us to take things to a new level in 2022.”

The executive and advisory board additions complete an enormously successful year for ZeroAvia. Beyond being named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company and a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, the company made significant strides on its R&D. It completed 35 test flights of its six-seat prototype, part of the UK Government-backed HyFlyer I project.

ZeroAvia raises further $35Million for zero-emission flight from United Airlines and others

The company also ramped up work on the HyFlyer II project, focused on delivering its commercial entry product, a 600 kW hydrogen-electric powertrain for 10-20 seat aircraft. In September, ZeroAvia welcomed its Dornier 228 testbed aircraft to Cotswold Airport, immediately beginning work to install its powertrain technology, and the team is already well advanced in preparation for flight testing early next year.

ZeroAvia raised more than $70 million in 2021, taking the total to $115 million, with the most recent round of $35 million announced in December. The company also announced several highly significant commercial deals throughout the year’s final quarter, amounting to more than 460 commitments for hydrogen-electric engines and several important joint development programmes. In the second half of the year, ZeroAvia also cemented a number of deals, including an intention to develop one of the world’s first commercial zero-emission routes from London to Rotterdam the Hague Airport, investment and purchase options from airlines such as Alaska Air Group and United Airlines , and partnerships with a variety of aviation players such as De Havilland of Canada, Rose Cay, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, ASL Aviation Holdings, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet division. The total number of engines (excluding spares) for in service or stored aircraft  produced by the OEMs that ZeroAvia has signed deals with stands at over 7,000, showing the scale of the opportunity.

“This commercial traction alongside the technical progress has been a massive boost for the company,” Miftakhov continued. “It demonstrates how receptive the market is for both our ZA600 and ZA2000 powertrains, as well as illustrates that hydrogen-electric is the only meaningful solution for zero-emission aviation.”