Air New Zealand (Air NZ) has received its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Wellington with a 500,000 litre delivery from EcoCeres and Exxon Mobil for use on its domestic services from the city’s airport. 

The delivery, equivalent to the fuel needed for 165 flights on an A320 aircraft between Auckland and Wellington, continues the flag carrier’s investments into the fuel, which has become a focal point for much of the industry’s sustainability plans. 

Kiri Hannifin, Air NZ’s chief sustainability and corporate affairs officer (CSCAO), said: “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.” 

Despite touting the importance of using SAF, Hannifin admitted that Air NZ was currently only purchasing the fuel in small quantities compared to the volume of traditional jet fuel it uses. 

The CSCAO said that this was mainly because Air NZ needed to keep up with other major airlines signing significant SAF supply deals to show the industry that it was “open for business”. 

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The newest batch delivered to the country’s capital will be used for the airline’s fleet of ATR aircraft and comes as the company prepares for incoming regulations that will require it to use the fuel on flights home from Singapore and Vancouver by 2026. 

Air NZ said it would be adding the 500,000 litres, which represent a lifecycle emissions reduction of up to 80%, to its jet fuel supply in Wellington to use in small percentage blends on its aircraft, as is currently the industry normal. 

In addition to domestic supply deals, the airline has also been signing SAF agreements abroad, including a nine million litre purchase from Neste for its flights from Los Angeles between April and November 2024.