Air NZ plans to be flying electric aircraft by 2030, chief pilot says [Stuff, 14/09/21]

Air New Zealand is planning to have an electric aircraft in its fleet by 2030, and its turboprop fleets will eventually be replaced with aircraft powered by alternative energy, its chief pilot says.

In an interview for Capa – Centre of Aviation, Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer, David Morgan, said the national carrier, and the aviation industry, had to find solutions to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

“We are of the view that we would like to see a zero carbon aircraft in our fleet sooner rather than later.”

Morgan said he hoped that would be by 2030.

The pilot would probably begin as a trial and carry just cargo, not passengers, he said.

It was likely to be a single engine aircraft, but a twin-engine 20 to 30 seater aircraft would be “viable” in 10 years, he said.

The revelation comes after Marlborough-based regional airline, Sounds Air, recently outlined its plans to be operating at least three electric aircraft by 2026.

Air New Zealand’s fleet of 23 Bombardier Q300 would be replaced with an aircraft that ran on alternative power some time after 2030, he said.

“That’s our expectation. That’s the fleet plan.”

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