As Air New Zealand works with four aviation companies to develop next-generation aircraft, which will be electric, hybrid or hydrogen-powered, the airline is now looking for New Zealand airports willing to be home to these in-development flying machines, expected to be in the air by 2026.
The two successful airports will be those looking to take a leadership role in the decarbonisation of commercial aviation and prepared to invest in the physical infrastructure that will enable this.
“Decarbonising aviation is not easy, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re committed to reducing our emissions as quickly as we can, and this process is another step in the right direction,” said Air New Zealand’s chief sustainability officer, Kiri Hannifin.
“Work around next generation aircraft is a key part of the airline’s strategy to decarbonise its operations.
“While we’re really looking forward to bringing two frontrunner airports on board, it’s also important to note that all airports in New Zealand play an important role as we work towards bringing next generation aircraft into our network here in Aotearoa at scale.
“Over the next few years as Air New Zealand works towards its ambition of flying next generation aircraft on our domestic network from 2030, we will be focused on supporting the building, testing, and certifying of aircraft and associated infrastructure.
“The selected airports will be leaders in supporting the implementation of this new technology and will be the conduit of information between airports across the motu as we drive the change required in advance of our larger fleet replacement needs from 2030.”
The initial next generation aircraft will be flying cargo only, but will be expanded to passenger aircraft.
Lowering aviation emissions is critical to the business events industry’s plight to reach its own greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, as so much of the carbon emitted comes from travel and transport of suppliers, delegates and staff.
The four companies working with Air New Zealand on designing their low-emissions aircraft are Eviation, Beta, VoltAero and Cranfield Aerospace.
Expressions of Interest to work with Air New Zealand’s new aircraft will close on September 12 and successful airports will be announced in the second quarter of 2024.