- 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.”