Flag carrier Air New Zealand has signed its biggest single purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) after ordering nine million litres of the fuel from Neste between April and November 2024. 

The deal, which the airline claims is the biggest SAF order for an airline based outside of North America and Europe, will cover a supply of Neste’s MY SAF for Air New Zealand’s operations at Los Angeles International Airport. 

Air New Zealand’s Chair Dame Therese Walsh signed the deal during a visit to Singapore, home to Neste’s refinery that will supply the fuel, where she was joined by New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. 

Walsh described SAF as the “only” current solution to significantly reduce emissions from long haul flight, she said: “For aviation to reach its net zero carbon emissions goals by 2050, the SAF industry will need to scale significantly.” 
“While the SAF supply is small compared with the airline’s overall fuel use, it is nine times the size of Air New Zealand’s first shipment of SAF from Neste in 2022 and demonstrates growing cooperation between two like-minded organisations to advance the supply and use of SAF.” 

SAF can supply a reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions of up to 80% when delivered in neat form but is currently almost exclusively used in blended form with traditional jet fuel due to its high cost and limited availability. 

Air New Zealand will take on the SAF from Neste between 1 April and 30 November as part of its ambitions to reach net zero by 2050. 

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The airline’s investment into the fuel is just a part of its attempts to further the sustainable aviation sector of the industry, alongside its Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme to develop low-emission aircraft powered by alternative propulsion systems such as green hydrogen or battery hybrid.