Air New Zealand and NZ Government to Invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel Studies

Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Government have announced a NZ$2 million-plus investment in the next phase of studies to consider the feasibility of producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The announcement, including a commitment of more than NZ$1.5 million from Air New Zealand and NZ$765,000 from the Government, was made at the launch of the draft Tourism Environment Action Plan, hosted by Air New Zealand and attended by the Minister of Tourism, Hon Peeni Henare.

This new investment follows an earlier yearlong RFP process that invited innovators to demonstrate the viability of operating a SAF plant at a commercial scale in New Zealand.

The airline, along with Government officials, evaluated proposals from multiple international SAF producers to understand what technologies are available globally and how these could be transposed into the New Zealand context.

Moving into phase two, the working group is progressing two proposals: one with LanzaJet and another with Fulcrum BioEnergy, both US-based. The next phase will further evaluate the technical, economic, supply chain, and environmental feasibility of establishing and operating a SAF production facility in New Zealand.   

Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin says the airline is grateful for the support from the Government to progress work considering the viability of SAF production in New Zealand.

“Globally, SAF is in very high demand but limited supply. Commercially producing SAF in New Zealand would not only help lower the country’s emissions while creating jobs, regional economic development and investment opportunities, but also provide energy security and energy independence which is something New Zealand doesn’t have,” said Hannifin.

The second stage of the SAF feasibility work will continue through to early 2024.