Air New Zealand and the government of New Zealand will put more than $2 million into studies on sustainable aviation fuel.

Air New Zealand and the government of New Zealand have announced a $2 million investment in the next phase of studies to investigate whether or not Aotearoa could produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Air New Zealand and the government of New Zealand
© Asian Aviation | (L-R) Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran, Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin, Air New Zealand Board Director Laurissa Cooney with Tourism Minister Peeni Henare.

At the launch of the draft Tourism Environment Action Plan, which was hosted by Air New Zealand and attended by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Peeni Henare, the announcement, which included a commitment of more than $1.5 million from Air New Zealand and $765,000 from the Government, was made.

According to Kiri Hannifin, Chief Sustainability Officer of Air New Zealand, the airline is thankful for the government’s assistance in researching the possibility of SAF production in New Zealand.

“Our climate is worsening at a rate far faster than predicted. We all need to take immediate and drastic action to protect what we love, including our land, and all that depends on her.”

New Zealand’s Investment

The airline and government officials looked at proposals from multiple international SAF manufacturers to learn about global technologies and how they could be applied to New Zealand.

This new investment follows a year-long RFP process in which innovators were asked to demonstrate the viability of operating a SAF plant commercially in New Zealand.

Kiri Hannifin added:

“Commercially producing SAF in New Zealand would help lower the country’s emissions while creating jobs and regional economic development.”

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) 

SAF is a fuel made from waste feedstocks like forestry residues, municipal waste, or used cooking oils. It can be “dropped in” to the refueling systems already in place for the aircraft currently in service without requiring any changes. Compared to fossil jet fuel, SAF’s inputs and processes produce significantly fewer lifecycle emissions of greenhouse gases.

© Air New Zealand

Kiri Hannifin added:

“Globally, SAF is in very high demand but limited supply.”

“So much of what we rely on in Aotearoa is based on our magnificent natural assets including tourism and food production.”

New Zealand’s Phase and Proposals 

The working group is moving forward with two proposals as it enters phase two: one with Fulcrum BioEnergy and one with LanzaJet, both based in the United States.

The technical, financial, supply chain and environmental viability of establishing and operating a SAF production facility in New Zealand will be further evaluated in the following phase.

Kiri Hannifin, concluded by saying:

“Air New Zealand has a significant role to play in transitioning our economy to a lower carbon future and flying with SAF is a key part of this transition.”

“Māori and Iwi investment opportunities, provide energy security and energy independence which is something New Zealand doesn’t have.”

What do you think of Air New Zealand’s plans for sustainable aviation fuel? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Samuel Ayobami Ojerinola
Samuel Ayobami Ojerinola
Aviation Reporter - With a deep background in travel including previous work for LoveHolidays, Omega and HRG, Samuel contributes news and analysis here at Travel Radar. Samuel also holds a BA degree in Travel & Tourism Management from the University of West London.