17 September 2008

Air NZ reinforcing claim as the world's most environmentally responsible airline

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The national airline for New Zealand is introducing further measures to reduce carbon emissions from its international jet fleet. Over the weekend, Air New Zealand trialled a world-first flight that reduced the amount of fuel usually used by 4,600L and saved 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide being omitted into the atmosphere.

The flight was part of ASPIRE 1 (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions), and used Auckland Airport’s supply of electricity while sitting on the tarmac instead of its own fuel supply.  The flight also used GPS instead of air traffic controllers to make deviations around weather patterns, which saved over 350kg of fuel and two minutes flying time.  Maximum thrust was used to take off, and a longer, more gradual descent to the San Francisco Airport saved even more fuel.  The flight arrived five minutes early.

Air New Zealand will also be installing new carbon-reducing equipment to its fleet.  The airline will retrofit zonal dryers supplied by CTT Systems Inc of Sweden, which will remove around 200kg of water from each aircraft, and therefore reduce fuel consumption.

Air New Zealand expects to save 500,000 US gallons of fuel a year across 42 aircraft, reducing carbon emissions by 4700 tonnes on an annual basis. 

"Installing these dryers will improve the environment both inside and outside the aircraft," says General Manager Airline Operations Captain David Morgan.

By 2013, the company hopes to have used at least one million barrels of environmentally sustainable fuel on an annual basis.  The projected aim of one million barrels per year will only supply 10 per cent of their annual needs for fuel consumption, but it is expected to lower the carbon footprint by 40 – 50 per cent on a life-cycle basis. 

The first flight test, which is expected to take-off in Auckland later this year, will use oil extracted from the jatropha plant.  The Boeing 747-400 Rolls Royce will be a world first and will show the rest of the aviation world that biofuel technology is integral to sustainable practices for airline companies. 

Despite a global downward trend, the number of international visitors arriving in New Zealand has increased over the past quarter, meaning more people are using the airline’s international services.  During July, 175,700 international visitors arrived on New Zealand’s shores, with the majority coming from Australia, the United Kingdom, and America.  The numbers of Australians, Americans and Germans increased during this month on the same period last year, while the numbers of Chinese and South Koreans lowered.

In the year to July, over 32,000 more Australians holidayed in New Zealand, which is the biggest increase in the number of international visitors to the country.

Many international visitors to New Zealand do not have to apply for a tourist visa to holiday in the country.  Australian citizens have visa-free entry to New Zealand, while British citizens can holiday in the country for up to 6 months on a New Zealand Visitor’s Permit.  Nationals from countries part of the visa waiver agreement with New Zealand can visit the country for no more than three months without needing to apply for a New Zealand tourist visa.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.


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