Air New Zealand has opened an Expression of Interest (EOI) for airports across New Zealand to become the home of the airline’s next generation aircraft.

In December 2022, Air New Zealand launched its ‘Mission Next Gen Aircraft’ project, which includes partnerships with Eviation, Beta, VoltAero and Cranfield Aerospace on the creation of its first zero emissions demonstrator flight that will begin flying from 2026.

The EOI announced on 2 August will see airports put forward their interest to be part of the route for the commercial demonstrator aircraft, which will initially fly cargo-only services. Two airports will be selected to play a leading role in introducing lower-emissions aircraft into the Aotearoa aviation system. The airline will announce which type of demonstrator it’ll be flying in early 2024.

Air New Zealand chief sustainability officer Kiri Hannifin said, “Work around next generation aircraft is a key part of the airline’s strategy to decarbonise its operations. Decarbonising aviation is not easy, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re committed to reducing our emissions as quickly as we can, and this process is another step in the right direction.

“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.

“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.”

The EOI document can be found here.

Image: Markus Mainka –

Sustainable aviation

Read more about Air New Zealand’s work with Embraer to develop sustainable aircraft for the future here.

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