Air New Zealand announces BETA's ALIA as launch aircraft for Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme
- Air New Zealand selects BETA's ALIA CTOL as its first next generation aircraft
- The electric aircraft has been purchased to meet the airline's goal of flying a commercial demonstrator by 2026
- NZ Post announced as cargo partner for commercial demonstrator
- Announcement in early 2024 revealing the two frontrunner airports to be home to next generation aircraft
Air New Zealand has today announced the ALIA as the airline's first purchase of a next generation aircraft in its Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme.
Designed by electric aerospace company BETA Technologies, the battery-powered all-electric aircraft is expected to join Air New Zealand's fleet in 2026. Air New Zealand is purchasing the conventional take-off and landing version of the ALIA.
The announcement follows an 18-month period of evaluation and diligence by Air New Zealand. Through the airline's Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme, it sought and received ideas and insights from 30 organisations, selecting four partners to work closely with on its goal of launching commercial flights using next generation aircraft in 2026. BETA's ALIA is the first commercial order in the programme.
Air New Zealand will initially operate the aircraft as a cargo only service in partnership with New Zealand Post, on a route being selected through an expressions of interest (EOI) process with airports across Aotearoa.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the purchase cements Air New Zealand's commitment to flying lower-emissions aircraft in New Zealand.
"This is a small but important step in a much larger journey for Air New Zealand. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are incredibly committed, and this purchase marks a new chapter for the airline."
"Decarbonising aviation isn't easy, and we have a lot of work to do. We need to accelerate the pace of change in the technology, infrastructure, operations and regulation."
"While this aircraft will add to, not replace our existing fleet, it is a catalyst for that change. By flying the ALIA, we hope to advance our knowledge and the transformation needed in the aviation system in Aotearoa for us to fly larger, fleet replacing, next generation aircraft from 2030."
BETA Chief Executive Officer Kyle Clark says he applauds Air New Zealand's approach to decarbonising aviation.
"Air New Zealand is hyper focused on bringing technologies to scale as quickly as possible, both to meet its own ambitions to decarbonise and to change the broader aviation landscape."
"Over the past year plus of partnership, collaboration, and diligence, we've seen Air New Zealand's forward-thinking, yet pragmatic and methodical approach to innovation."
"We are gratified by the airline's confidence in our technology as a solution that will meet their operational needs and look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand as we bring the ALIA to market for 2026."
Note to editors:
- Air New Zealand will fly the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) version of the ALIA.
- Air New Zealand has a firm order for one aircraft with options for an additional two aircraft, and rights for a further 20 aircraft.
- The ALIA has flown over 480kms in one flight in testing. For Air New Zealand's initial flights, it is looking at routes of around 150kms in length.
- Given the shorter length of the flights Air New Zealand intends to operate, it will likely fly the ALIA at a lower altitude of between 1500 to 3000 metres.
- The ALIA weighs three tonnes, is just over 12 metres long, and will fly at a speed of up to 270kms an hour.
- A full charge of the battery is anticipated to take between 40-60 minutes.
- Aviation has a rigorous safety and risk management culture. The aircraft will only be brought into service once it has passed testing and is certified as safe to fly by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service AirlineRatings.com, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.
Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.
About Star Alliance
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.