Air New Zealand has unveiled plans to have its first zero emissions demonstrator flight – either cargo or passenger – take to the skies from 2026. The airline chose Eviation, Beta, VoltAero, and Cranfield Aerospace to participate in the partnership.

A combination of electric, green hydrogen, and hybrid aircraft, these partners will work alongside Air New Zealand over the coming years to focus on developing the technology and associated infrastructure required to make flying these aircraft in New Zealand a reality.

These partnerships involve Air New Zealand signing a “statement of intent to order”, a document which demonstrates its ambition to acquire three aircraft initially, with further options for 20, from one or more of the partners subject to an evaluation process.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the airline selected these partners based on the stage they are at in their aircraft development journey and their shared goal of starting now to take ambitious action on climate change.

“Mission NextGen Aircraft is not about backing one innovator. It’s about working with a range of leaders in zero emissions aircraft technology to help move the whole ecosystem along. Our goal is to confirm our commitment with one or more of these partners in the next 12 months with the ambition of purchasing an aircraft for delivery from 2026.

“The learnings we will take from flying an aircraft with next generation propulsion technology from 2026 will then pave the way for our long-term partners to deliver an aircraft that can replace our Q300 turboprop domestic fleet.

“Getting a zero emissions aircraft off the ground by 2026 is going to be challenging. But we’re incredibly ambitious – because we need to be”

Why it matters: Air New Zealand’s eVTOL strategy diverges from many other carriers that have inked deals with aerial mobility OEM’s. With its try-before-you-buy strategy, Air New Zealand has an opportunity to study its 4 selected partners and choose the one which will form the strongest partnership and help the airline execute its vision of delivering zero-emission eVTOL flights by 2026.

Source: Air New Zealand Press Release

Posted by Ross Piscoran