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Nov 15, 2023

Universal Hydrogen, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., and JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Bring Hydrogen-Powered Flight to Japan

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Los Angeles, California – November 15, 2023 – Following the announcement in March 2023 of Universal Hydrogen’s collaboration in Japan to study green hydrogen supply and logistics solutions for Japanese airlines, the company today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) and JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. (JALEC) to bring hydrogen-powered flight to Japan and establish JAL’s position as a global leader in operating true zero-carbon-emissions passenger aircraft.

“JAL and JALEC have completed one of the most rigorous evaluation processes we’ve seen to date to determine its sustainability partners and Universal Hydrogen is honored to be amongst those selected,” said Rod Williams, Chief Commercial Officer of Universal Hydrogen. “JAL joins other major global airlines to be interested in Universal Hydrogen’s ATR retrofit conversion kit solution to replace their regional fleet, and combined with our hydrogen ecosystem collaborations, we are bringing a complete solution to the JAL regional network.”

The MoU further sees both JAL and JALEC provide their input on the technical design and development of the conversion kits and the overall hydrogen value chain in Japan. JAL will be able to promote the specifics of their regional operation with a strong focus on reliability and maintainability. This input complements the work Universal Hydrogen is doing alongside investors Sojitz and Mitsubishi HC Capital Inc. as well. Collectively, the parties have spent the last several months studying green hydrogen supply and logistics solutions for Japanese airlines to scale their utilization of hydrogen-powered aircraft in the very near-term. This is being done by identifying, evaluating, and qualifying local hydrogen suppliers and partners for hydrogen production, hydrogen module filling, module delivery operations, and more.

“Japan has long-shown that it is a market with an incredibly strong appetite for green aviation solutions and is home to JAL, one of the most established airlines in the world. As a partner, JAL is impressively demanding on the technical side; their operation is one of the most reliable in the world,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “I’m proud that in just a few years Universal Hydrogen has been able to earn JAL’s respect to enter the Japanese market even at our relatively early stage of development, which is a testament to our team’s technical excellence. The team we put together to build out the hydrogen value chain in Japan, coupled with customer demand makes Japan a clear leader on decarbonizing our industry,”

“JAL and JALEC share Universal Hydrogen’s goal to make hydrogen-powered flight a reality in Japan,” said Ryo Tamura, President, JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. “Through this first step in our partnership, with the advanced and innovative technology of Universal Hydrogen, JAL and JALEC both lead and contribute to safe and sustainable aviation in Japan.”

About Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.

Japan Airlines (JAL), Japan’s first private aviation company, was established in 1951 and is a member of the oneworld® Alliance. The airline operates a fleet of 224 aircraft and has announced plans to begin renewing its international flagship aircraft starting in its winter 2023 schedule. Together with other JAL Group and partner airlines, JAL offers an extensive domestic and international network that serves 376 airports across 64 countries/regions. The airline has received numerous accolades for its exceptional service, including being recognized as a certified 5-Star Airline by Skytrax and being awarded the prestigious “World Class” Airline title by APEX, the Airline Passenger Experience Association. JAL takes great pride in its on-time performance and is regarded as one of the most punctual airlines globally. The airline is dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of flight safety and overall service quality, striving to be the most preferred airline by customers worldwide. The JAL Group recognizes that action to address climate change is a particularly important issue for the sustainability of society, and in June 2020, the group announced its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

For details and to learn more, visit JAL’s official website at https://www.jal.com/en/.

JAL Engineering Co., Ltd.

JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. (JALEC) is responsible for the line and heavy maintenance, development and control of maintenance plan for the aircrafts operated by JAL group airlines, such as JAL, J-AIR, Spring Japan and ZIPAIR Tokyo. Based on Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Narita International Airport, and Osaka Itami International Airport, JALEC provides high-quality maintenance service including engines and components maintenance and supporting aviation safety through extensive knowledge and advanced technical skill developed by over years of experience.

About Universal Hydrogen

Universal Hydrogen is making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality. The company takes a flexible, scalable, and capital-light approach to hydrogen logistics by transporting it in modular capsules over the existing freight network from green production sites directly to the airplane anywhere in the world. The company is targeting regional and narrowbody/single aisle airplanes as the near-term and most impactful decarbonization opportunities. Universal Hydrogen is also working to certify a powertrain conversion kit to retrofit existing regional aircraft to fly on hydrogen.


Kate Gundry

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