August 5, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Air New Zealand has set a 16.3 per cent absolute emissions reduction goal – using a 2019 baseline – for 2030 and is one of just two airlines worldwide to have set such an ambitious carbon target through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Like many of its aviation compatriots, Air New Zealand has a net zero target for 2050. However, Lufthansa is the only other airline globally to have officially set a 2030 target through SBTi which will ensure its emissions are in line with global warming not exceeding a two-degree Celsius temperature increase on pre-industrial levels, which scientists believe will stave off the worst effects of climate change.

“This interim target will drive activity today and set the airline up for success in achieving its net zero 2050 target,” said Air New Zealand’s chief operational integrity and safety officer David Morgan.

“Getting the target validated by the SBTi was a rigorous process and something we are incredibly proud to have achieved. Our GHG emissions were reviewed in detail by the SBTi to ensure we had an accurate emissions baseline and science-based target set.

“This target makes us accountable today. Implementing our decarbonisation roadmap will be critical to achieving this target – with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), continued fleet renewal, operational efficiency and zero emissions aircraft technologies all playing a role,” he said.

“Our key focus areas are SAF and the adoption of zero emissions aircraft technologies as they have the potential to reduce our emissions by approximately 70 per cent by 2050.

“We already have several initiatives in the works including a partnership with the government to scope the feasibility of a SAF production plant in New Zealand and our world-leading Product Requirements Document currently in market to accelerate the development of hydrogen, electric and hybrid aircraft.

“These are the initiatives that will drive real change in reducing our emissions and we’re incredibly focused on delivering them as quickly as possible,” said Morgan.

In Australia, national carrier Qantas has also set an interim emissions reduction target of 25 per cent by 2030 and is grappling with similar challenges as Air New Zealand – primarily around developing a local SAF industry. Qantas recently inked a partnership with Airbus which will see the two companies contribute up to $200 million to incentivise SAF production in Australia.