14 December 2022
Air New Zealand has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Hiringa Energy as part of its “Mission NextGen Aircraft” plan.
Greg Foran, Air New Zealand CEO, says to understand the infrastructure required to fly green-hydrogen aircraft, it has chosen New Zealand-based, green hydrogen supply and refuelling infrastructure company Hiringa Energy.
“While the aircraft play a pivotal role, infrastructure partners are just as important,” Mr. Foran says. “Through this strategic alliance agreement, we will explore the future green hydrogen supply solutions for our commercial demonstrator ambitions with a focus on ensuring any solutions we create to meet our 2026 goal are also building a platform for larger next generation fleets from the 2030’s.”
Andrew Clennett, Hiringa Energy CEO, says the strategic alliance is key to accelerating the development of hydrogen as a sustainable and renewable zero emission fuel for both the airline and New Zealand.
“Kiwis will be excited Air New Zealand is taking a lead in identifying zero emissions aircraft and backing local companies like Hiringa Energy to help overcome the challenges of providing green hydrogen to power them,” he says.
Air New Zealand says it will work with four of the world’s leading aircraft innovators to have its first zero emissions flight – either cargo or passenger- in the sky from 2026.
The aviation companies include Cranfield Aerospace, VoltAero, Beta, and Eviation.
A combination of electric, green hydrogen, and hybrid aircraft, these partners will work alongside Air New Zealand over the coming years to focus on developing the technology and associated infrastructure required to make flying these aircraft in New Zealand a reality.
These partnerships involve Air New Zealand signing a “statement of intent to order,” a document which demonstrates its ambition to acquire three aircraft initially, with further options for 20, from one or more of the partners, subject to an evaluation process.
Mr. Foran says the airline selected these partners based on the stage they are at in their aircraft development journey and their shared goal of starting now to take ambitious action on climate change.
“Mission NextGen Aircraft is not about backing one horse. It’s about working with a range of leaders in zero emissions aircraft technology to help move the whole ecosystem along. Our goal is to confirm our commitment with one or more of these partners in the next 12 months with the ambition of purchasing an aircraft for delivery from 2026.
“The learnings we will take from flying an aircraft with next generation propulsion technology from 2026 will then pave the way for our long-term partners to deliver an aircraft that can replace our Q300 turbo prop domestic fleet.
“Getting a zero emissions aircraft off the ground by 2026 is going to be challenging. But we are incredibly ambitious – because we need to be.”
More about the aircraft partners:
“At Cranfield Aerospace we are extremely proud to have been selected by Air New Zealand as a Mission NextGen partner. The airline is renowned in the industry for being a powerhouse of sustainability and given Cranfield Aerospace’s ambition to design and manufacture zero emissions green hydrogen fuelled aircraft, our collective ambitions couldn’t be more aligned.
“We look forward to working with the Air New Zealand team to bring zero emissions flight to their domestic network and help pave the way for the next revolution in aviation.”
“We’re proud of our selection by Air New Zealand to offer the Cassio aircraft as a unique solution that perfectly responds to the airline’s sustainable fleet ambitions,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technical Officer.
“Cassio provides outstanding safety and versatility through the propulsion system’s dual source of electric-hybrid energy. Additionally, Cassio’s configurable cabin – along with the propulsion system’s adaptability to biofuels and hydrogen for its thermal engine – opens Air New Zealand’s regional network to next-generation airplanes that are clean, quiet and efficient.”
“Air New Zealand has a long history of embracing innovation and taking action toward change, and the world needs global thought leaders like this to make a meaningful difference in the climate crisis right now,” said Kyle Clark, BETA’s CEO and Founder. “Air New Zealand is stepping up and we will be right here with them to make it a reality.”
“Eviation’s Alice is the first flight-proven all-electric commuter aircraft, leading the world into a new era of carbon-free, cost-effective and convenient aviation,” said Gregory Davis, President and CEO of Eviation.
“I am delighted with Air New Zealand’s endorsement of Alice, which will provide an effective way to decarbonise flights on their many regional routes, and I pay tribute to their commitment to innovation and sustainability. The zero-emissions Alice is a beautiful aircraft and I look forward to seeing it soaring through the skies of New Zealand.”
About Hiringa Energy
Hiringa Energy is a green hydrogen energy company founded in 2017. Hiringa Energy is dedicated to building green hydrogen production and infrastructure to displace fossil fuels in transport and industrial feedstock, as well as working with technology and transport suppliers to introduce a full suite of hydrogen powered solutions to customers.
Its subsidiary, Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand, is focused on rapidly deploying a nationwide high capacity, open access hydrogen refuelling network to remove barriers and accelerate the adoption of green hydrogen applications across multiple sectors including road transport, aviation, rail, marine, materials handling, off highway and remote use.