Photo: Florence Charvin

Hawke’s Bay Airport will be submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) for participating in Air New Zealand’s lower emissions planes trial.

Air New Zealand is seeking Expressions of Interest from NZ airports capable of hosting planned low- or zero-emissions aircraft.

The national carrier is looking to fly an electric, hydrogen or hybrid aircraft on a cargo-only demonstrator route by 2026 and expects to make an announcement around the type of aircraft it will be using by early next year.

The airline is looking for airports who want to further support the decarbonisation of aviation and are motivated to take on a leadership role in developing the infrastructure required to fly this technology.

Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin said the two airports selected will play a critical role in introducing lower-emissions aircraft into the Aotearoa aviation system.

One of those airports could be Hawke’s Bay.

Hawke’s Bay Airport says the initiative closely aligns with the airport’s credentials as the first airport in Australasia to achieve the highest level of carbon accreditation status (ACA 4+ transition).

“(The accreditation status) was for our emissions reduction efforts, and our aspirations for a low carbon future for our region and for New Zealand,” says HB Airport CEO Rob Stratford.

“Our planned solar farm could also lead to us producing green hydrogen to support future decarbonisation of aviation, so we see our participation in the proposed trial as a natural fit for Hawke’s Bay Airport.”

Photo Tom Allan

Hannifin said work around next generation aircraft was a key part of the airline’s strategy to decarbonise its operations.

“While we’re really looking forward to bringing two frontrunner airports on board, it’s also important to note that all airports in New Zealand play an important role as we work towards bringing next generation aircraft into our network here in Aotearoa at scale,” Hannifin said. 

“Over the next few years as Air New Zealand works towards its ambition of flying next generation aircraft on our domestic network from 2030, we will be focused on supporting the building, testing, and certifying of aircraft and associated infrastructure.

“The selected airports will be leaders in supporting the implementation of this new technology and will be the conduit of information between airports across the motu as we drive the change required in advance of our larger fleet replacement needs from 2030.”

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


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  1. This last saturday the non partisan group Save Our Trains held community meetings in Woodville and Dannevirke. Both still have railway stations but no passenger trains. If you cannot drive, or do not wish to drive you are now pretty much stranded in these towns. And this group is growing. In rural towns, as in the whole Hawkes Bay areas, the over 65 year olds are the fastest expanding population. An InterCity bus goes through the district, but some of the people we met could not use the bus as they used walking frames or had some other disability making getting on and off buses impossible. Buses also do not have onboard toilets or cafes. We know that the modern very low emission/energy use trains we see overseas allow easy access for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams and bikes. If we took action now we could have these already existing very low emission trains running along this route before 2030 – possibly powered by the wind turbines above Woodville. Instead, we are seeing promises of future low emission flights (unclear whether its electric or some hybrid). This is good but – when if and when operational – they will only be going from the main urban area of Napier/Hastings so of little value to those living in the smaller towns in the Tararua and Hawkes Bay areas. Electric planes may well be flying some regional routes in the 2030s, but we also need trains back to serve the whole community.

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