Air New Zealand is looking for two airports to further support its efforts towards decarbonisation and has opened an expression of interest, as part of selecting a route to fly its commercial demonstrator aircraft from 2026.
The move is part of the airline’s ‘Mission Next Gen Aircraft’ launched in December last year, where the carrier announced partnerships with Eviation, Beta, VoltAero and Cranfield Aerospace with plans to launch the first-zero emissions demonstrator flight by 2026.
Air New Zealand is working towards its ambition of flying next generation aircraft on its domestic network from 2030. The airline will work with its partners to develop the technology and associated infrastructure required to make this a reality. The commercial demonstrator aircraft will be either electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel celled and will initially operate as a cargo-only service. The airline said it will announce the type of demonstrator aircraft it will use from 2026 by early next year.
“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 Kiri Hannifin, Air New Zealand’s chief sustainability officer.
“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.
“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.”