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Air New Zealand receives 500,000-litre delivery of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Air New Zealand has received a shipment of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) into Wellington, its first delivery to the nation’s capital city and another small step towards its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Manufactured by EcoCeres in China from 100 percent used cooking oil and supplied and blended by Exxon Mobil, the 500,000-litre delivery is equivalent to *165 flights on an A320 aircraft between Auckland and Wellington. The SAF delivered to Wellington represents life-cycle carbon emissions savings of at least 80 percent compared with fossil jet fuel.  

Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, Kiri Hannifin says moving away from purely using fossil fuels for Air New Zealand’s operations is critical. 

“As the main driver of climate change, the global economy, including New Zealand, must rapidly transition away from our high reliance on fossil fuels.  For a small island nation in the South Pacific, alternatives are even more important because we are heavily reliant on flying to connect with each other in our own country, as well as when we travel abroad.  Aviation also plays a very important role supporting New Zealand’s trade and tourism sectors. 

”To keep doing all these activities which enrich our country’s economy we must act as quickly as we can to transition to a lower-carbon future.  At the moment, SAF is the key way aviation will move towards this. 

“Airlines are signing supply arrangements for SAF 10 years into the future and beyond, so we need to be part of the picture from the start otherwise New Zealand may fall behind.  While the volumes of SAF we are buying are very small compared to the amount of fossil jet fuel we use, they give an important signal to alternative fuel producers that we are open for business,” says Ms Hannifin. 

“We’ve seen increased international momentum around SAF in the past few months, with airlines, governments, airports, and fuel companies all getting on board with alternative fuels at pace.  

”From 2026, our aircraft will be required to uplift SAF when we fly home from Singapore and Vancouver. Japan has announced a SAF requirement from 2030, and other countries are also making signals that SAF will be mandated for all airlines for outbound flights including in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China.  

“These moves across different jurisdictions are being put in place to stimulate and fast track the production of alternative fuels and encourage oil and gas companies to speed up their transition away from fossil fuels.”  

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says, “Transport energy accounts for 18 percent of New Zealand’s total emissions, so it is encouraging to see the industry take steps towards sustainable practices as New Zealand transitions to a low emissions future.”  

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced the production of SAF is projected to triple in 2024 but will still only be able to supply 0.53 percent of total aviation fuel needs. Air New Zealand is currently involved in two feasibility studies which look at opportunities for local production of alternative jet fuels.

*Notes to editors 

  • This SAF shipment will be used on Air New Zealand’s ATR aircraft. 
  • This 500,000-litre delivery is made from used cooking oil and will be added to the New Zealand jet fuel supply.  
  • Sustainable aviation fuel is a type of aviation fuel derived from sources that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF is designed to be a direct replacement for traditional fossil-based jet fuel, and once blended it can be used in existing aircraft and infrastructure without requiring significant modifications. 
  • Sustainable aviation fuel is derived from renewable sources such as plant oils, waste oils, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, and woody biomass – it offers up to 80% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. 

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It’s a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand’s global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World’s Safest Airline by the Australian rating service, highlighting the airline’s laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline’s efforts in tackling some of New Zealand’s and the world’s most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.

About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.

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