Ecojet makes further board appointments in run-up to launch

Edinburgh-based regional carrier Ecojet, which made headlines last month as it confirmed an order of 70 ZeroAvia engines, has now publicised further appointments to its management team in preparation for a spring 2024 launch.

The airline, which was founded in 2021, is partly-owned by the self-dubbed “Zerocarbonista” climate entrepreneur Dale Vince. Best known for his involvement in green energy firm Ecotricity, Vince is involved in a variety of ‘eco-friendly’ ventures which form part of the Green Britain group: whilst he does not hold an executive role at Ecojet, Vince is a registered director at the firm and acts as a spokesperson for the airline.

As reported by Fresh Aviation in July, Ecojet has appointed Peter Davies, who lists experience at Air Malta, Caribbean Airlines and former Bristol operator Air Southwest among his past management posts, as its Chairman. Davies is also the Chief Executive of the Airline Management Group (AMG), which has taken a minority stake in Ecojet as per a Confirmation Statement filed in August 2023. 

It has now been announced that Davies’ team is also to include Brent Smith as its Chief Executive Officer. Smith, who previously flew as a Captain for defunct regional operator flybe, claims to be “passionate about regional aviation” and is now the head of a consultancy firm specialising in de Havilland Canada Dash 8 operations. Whilst Ecojet has so far only confirmed its intention of operating the smaller Twin Otter, it is understood that a future fleet will also include a 70-seat type.

Photo: ZeroAvia

Ecojet has also appointed its Head of Finance, Deon van Rensburg, a former analyst for Lloyd’s of London who will be joined by aviation veteran Ben Leon as the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer. Leon has formerly held similar roles at British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Eastern Airways and others. Finally, Augusto Ponte will act as an advisor to the start-up airline’s board having previously aided the start-up of British Airways subsidiary Go Fly and undertaken the restructuring of South African Airways. Ponte also joins via Ecojet’s involvement with AMG.

The start-up airline plans to eliminate single-use plastics from its services, and will also serve plant-based meals and provide crew with sustainable uniforms. It will initially launch in early 2024 on the Edinburgh to Southampton route using traditional airliners before refitting its fleet with ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain from 2025. Whilst these new appointments do lend further credibility to the new carrier, it remains to be seen whether the ‘sustainable’ aspect will be enough to set it apart from other carriers.