Air New Zealand has announced the partners it will be working with on Mission Next Gen Aircraft to have its first zero-emission demonstrator flight by 2026.
A combination of electric, green hydrogen, and hybrid aircraft, Eviation, Beta, VoltAero, and Cranfield Aerospace will work alongside Air New Zealand over the coming years to develop the technology and associated infrastructure to get the aircraft off the ground.
According to Air New Zealand, a statement of intent to order has been signed to acquire three aircraft initially, with an option for a further 20, from one or more of the partners subject to an evaluation process. The airline has also signed a strategic alliance agreement with Hiringa Energy, a New Zealand based green-hydrogen supply and refuelling infrastructure company, to further understand the infrastructure required to fly green-hydrogen aircraft.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran, said: “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.”
Hiringa Energy Chief Executive Andrew Clennett, added: “Kiwis will be excited Air New Zealand is taking a lead in identifying zero emissions aircraft and backing local companies like Hiringa Energy to help overcome the challenges of providing green hydrogen to power them.”