Air New Zealand has revealed a new initiative to support the development and introduction of zero-emissions aircraft into its fleet within the next five years.
The airline has published a Product Requirements Document (PRD) as a guide for traditional planemakers, as well as innovative start-ups alike to try their hand at creating a zero-emission aviation solution that aligns with Air New Zealand’s goals.
The initiative joins a number of others by the airline, including a partnership with the New Zealand government for the use of sustainable aviation fuel, and with Airbus on its zero-emissions aircraft development.
The airline aims to achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The PRD provides an overview of the airline’s requirements for a new aircraft solution and hopes to kickstart discussion and ongoing collaboration with the potential aircraft developer.
Possible solutions could include hybrid electric aircraft, hydrogen propulsion, or full-electric solutions, among others.
Air New Zealand hopes to sign a letter of intent with a planemaker or developer as soon as the second quarter of 2022 and take deliveries of aircraft in 2025.
Air New Zealand’s head of fleet strategy Baden Smith said the airline is taking bold steps to ramp up genuine climate action and is looking for innovative organisations that can help on its zero-emissions aircraft journey.
“As we work towards our net zero 2050 goal, reducing aircraft emissions is critical,” Smith said.
“While our industry faces a steep challenge to decarbonise, New Zealand is uniquely placed to lead the world in zero-emissions aircraft and low carbon alternatives on our domestic air transport network.
“We believe New Zealand could be a world leader in zero or low emissions aircraft, whether that’s battery electric or green hydrogen powered. We’re seeking the best ideas and technology from innovators around the globe who might be prepared to work with us.”
Smith said that New Zealand as a nation is “ideally suited” to adopt zero-emissions aircraft, thanks to its range of short-range and regional routes.
This makes Air New Zealand the “perfect candidate” to test new lower-emission technologies.
“This Product Requirements Document allows us to share our vision for zero-emissions aircraft deployment and allows current and future aircraft developers to recognise both the opportunity here in New Zealand and Air New Zealand’s ambition to make this a reality as soon as possible,” he said.