Air New Zealand launches new route between Auckland and New York using B787-9
| © Cammynz

New Zealand and Singapore will work together on advancing sustainable aviation, including SAF and hydrogen planes.

Green agreement signed

On 20 April, New Zealand and Singapore signed a Sustainable Aviation Arrangement, which will see the two countries working together on technologies such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and hydrogen. The agreement was signed in Singapore by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinta Arden, and Singapore’s Minister of Transport, S Iswaran. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said:

“Climate change is the existential challenge of our time. Singapore and New Zealand share similar perspectives on it,”


“We need stronger cooperation amongst countries to protect the most vulnerable peoples and places on our planet.”‘

New Zealand and Singapore Prime ministers Jacinta ardern and Lee Hsien Loong press conference 2019
Ardern and Lee at a Press conference in 2019 | © Jeremy Long

The arrangement builds on an Enhanced Partnership agreement from 2019, which addressed four ‘pillars’ of cooperation between the two countries: trade and economics, security and defence, science and technology, and people-to-people links. This year, a new pillar is being added to the list: climate change and the green economy. Cooperation in this field will involve joint research projects on low-carbon technology, information-sharing on low-emission vehicles, and collaboration on sustainable aviation fuels such as SAF and hydrogen.

What changes will we see?

Several New Zealand firms have already committed to taking action, including Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ). In a statement to Simple Flying, BARNZ executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers said the agreement was a big leap forward for New Zealand aviation.

“We will be working jointly with Singapore on the policy, investment and the research needed to deploy sustainable aviation fuels, including SAF and hydrogen, as well as next-generation ‘novel propulsion’ aircraft.”

He added:

“As a small island nation, air travel is critical in keeping our people and economy connected. But it’s vital that we find a more sustainable way to do this.”

In the same statement, Air New Zealand said they would be working with SAF provider Neste, who recently announced they’d be expanding their refinery in Singapore. The expansion will increase their SAF production by 1.3 million tons a year once works are finished in 2023.

Neste Ryanair sustainable aviation fuel
Neste are the largest producer of SAF in the world | © Neste

An important partnership

New Zealand and Singapore are well-suited for partnership, as aviation-related climate issues affect the countries in similar ways. The two countries have similar goals when it comes to reducing emissions, especially since both countries are island nations that receive a lot of long-haul flights. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that “New Zealand is at the end of the world and Singapore is not so close to Europe either,” adding:

“It will put us, Singapore, and to some extent New Zealand also at a disadvantage. And therefore, we have an interest in working together.”

EUROCONTROL data on long haul flights
EUROCONTROL emissions data on long haul flights | © EUROCONTROL

According to data from EUROCONTROL, long haul-flights are responsible for over 50% of C02 emissions from flying, despite constituting less than 6% of overall journeys. Mr. Lee highlighted the importance of aviation as a key contributor to carbon emissions, saying:

“If we are going to go for a low-carbon world, this is something which countries should be focused on, and we don’t have a good solution to it,”

Hopefully, this new agreement between New Zealand and Singapore will encourage more countries to do the same.

What are your thoughts on the future of sustainable aviation? Let us know in the comments below!



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