Mission Next Gen Aircraft: Coming to a region near you?
- Air New Zealand opens EOI to airports to be home to next generation aircraft
- Announcement by early 2024 on which type of lower emission commercial demonstrator aircraft will be flying from 2026
- Aircraft will initially fly cargo only services
As part of the airline's 'Mission Next Gen Aircraft' announced late last year, Air New Zealand today opened an Expression of Interest (EOI) to airports around the country as part of selecting a route to fly its commercial demonstrator aircraft from 2026.
The commercial demonstrator aircraft is yet to be selected but will be either electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel celled and will initially operate as a cargo only service.
The airline is looking for airports who want to further support the decarbonisation of aviation and are motivated to take on a leadership role in developing the infrastructure required to fly this technology. The EOI sets out the operational requirements that need to be considered including factors like range.
Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin says the two airports selected will play a critical role in introducing lower-emissions aircraft into the Aotearoa aviation system.
"Work around next generation aircraft is a key part of the airline's strategy to decarbonise its operations. 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.
"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."
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.