Ampaire to retrofit Azul Conecta’s Grand Caravans
Ampaire has signed a letter of intent (LoI) to upgrade Brazilian regional airline Azul Conecta’s Grand Caravans by retrofitting a hybrid-electric powertrain and battery pack.
Conecta, a regional subsidiary of Brazil’s largest airline Azul, has a fleet of 27 Caravans serving 84 destinations. How long the upgrade work will take and whether work will be staggered across the fleet remains to be seen. Installing Ampaire’s AMP-H570 powertrain will reduce operating costs by 25% or more. Conecta said it ordered upgrade kits for the fleet because it sees hybrid-electric solutions as the fastest way to deploy sustainable technologies.
The order follows the first flight of the Eco Caravan in November last year and the announcement of a $9m award from the US Department of Energy to help Ampaire ready for FAA certification and series production.
“We are thrilled to work with the visionary team at Azul Conecta,” said Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker. “They are among a group of established air carriers ready to embrace a hybrid-electric solution, providing leadership for an entire industry.”
Conecta will work with Ampaire to develop charging infrastructure across the carrier’s bases and at other airports, said Flavio Costa, the Conecta´s CEO. The airline will also provide services to other Eco Caravan operators throughout South America.
“After evaluating a range of technologies, including fully-electric and hydrogen fuel cells, we concluded that Ampaire moves us toward our ESG goals much sooner,” said Costa. “Azul Conecta has innovation as a mission and sees the upgrade to the Eco Caravan as a major innovation that accelerates our path to sustainability, maintaining a safety standard in our operations, which is our first and non-negotiable value.”
Ampaire is working with the FAA to certify the Eco Caravan in 2024 under a supplemental type
certificate (STC). The firm said it will work with Azul Conecta’s assistance to achieve additional certification from Brazil’s ANAC.