Air New Zealand to receive first SAF shipment

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A three-year-old Air New Zealand A321, ZK-NNB, as shot by Victor Pody

Air New Zealand will next week receive its first shipment of sustainable aviation fuel derived from used cooking oil.

The 1.2 million litre delivery, equivalent to fuelling 400 return flights between Auckland and Wellington, will be used to test the supply chain to set up future imports.

The airline expects 10 per cent of all its fuel to be SAF by 2030, and last year agreed to work with the government to “scope the feasibility” of producing its own supplies.

It follows IATA, the global trade association for world airlines, agreeing in October last year to make aviation net zero by 2050.

Air New Zealand said the SAF it’s imported will reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent compared to fossil jet fuel.

The business’ chief executive, Greg Foran, said, “This is a major milestone for us. We made a commitment when we announced Flight NZ0 earlier this year to find a more sustainable way to connect with the world.

“Air New Zealand is already one of the most fuel-efficient airlines in the world with our modern fleet, but the future of travel relies on low-carbon air transport.”

It comes after Qantas early this year pledged to invest $50 million to help support the establishment of a local sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.

The airline announced that by 2050, it hopes to see 60 per cent of all fuel being used by all its aircrafts being derived from SAF. This is alongside a similar interim goal of 10 per cent by 2030.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said, “This is a huge opportunity for Australia… that can create a huge amount of jobs in this country, and the security it would give against what’s going on in the rest of the world.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we were just dependant on our own country for that?”

Joyce said that Australia’s federal and state governments should be advocating more for a local SAF industry, stating its “a shame” that little progress has been made so far.

“It’s a shame if Qantas meets its 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel target in 2030 by just buying it offshore. That would be terrible outrage in my mind, and it’s a terrible dropping of the ball in Australia.”

The airline’s goal to establish a local SAF industry will be helped through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Qantas together with banking giant ANZ and Japanese resources company INPEX, on a major reforestation and carbon farming project, in Western Australia’s wheatbelt region.

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