Air New Zealand Hopes To Have A Zero-Emission Aircraft In The Air By 2026
— 15 December 2022

Air New Zealand Hopes To Have A Zero-Emission Aircraft In The Air By 2026

— 15 December 2022
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

Air New Zealand is hoping to be the world’s first carrier to put a zero-emission plane in the air, committing to do landmark effort with a proposed deadline of 2026.

With the advent of eVTOL aircraft around the world and other all-electric commuter planes in the works, it seems entirely possible that Air New Zealand could have a zero-emission plane in service within just a few years.

The airline has reportedly entered into agreements with four different manufacturers in an attempt to expedite the process and take a step toward decarbonising its entire fleet by 2050. The project is being dubbed ‘Mission NextGen Aircraft,’ spurring New Zealand’s flag carrier to partner with Washington State company Eviation, who already have an all-electric commuter plane called Alice, Vermont-based start-up Beta, France’s Volt Aero, and British company Cranfield Aerospace.

All four of these companies have signed a “statement of intent” with the airline, with each manufacturer to produce three aircraft initially while Air New Zealand has the option of ordering an additional 20.

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The closest aircraft we have to Air New Zealand’s brief so far is the aforementioned Alice, which Eviation revealed back in 2019 at the Paris Air Show. The all-electric vehicle already had its maiden flight earlier this year, validating the nine-seat aircraft and its design, which runs on two props and covers around 463 km on a single charge with travelling speeds of up to 481 km/h in the air.

If the Zero-Emission plane is ready by then, it’ll have to make use of either electricity, green hydrogen or hybrid energy to fly. Such as feat would validate the major advancements in zero-emissions aircraft technology that have popped up in recent years.

Importantly, Air New Zealand doesn’t want this next-gen aircraft to be ready by 2026 just so it can showcase at a bunch of air shows with some empty promises. The idea is to have the theoretical zero-emissions plane in the actual air so it can replace the airline’s short-haul Q300 fleet initially.

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Chris Singh
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Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.