ir New Zealand and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on a joint study to explore the potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft operations.
Under the agreement, Air New Zealand will analyse the impact hydrogen-powered aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Airbus will share expected aircraft performance and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand in its decarbonisation roadmap.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said the agreement is an exciting step towards understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand.
“This agreement brings us a step closer to our net zero emissions by 2050 commitment and to realising our aspiration to put low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights. New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero emissions aircraft, given the country’s commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network.”
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan said the MoU is an opportunity for the airline to be part of the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its own operations.
“We’ll be working closely with Airbus to understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in New Zealand.”
Airbus Asia-Pacific President Anand Stanley added that the agreement reflects the shared commitment of the two companies to ensure a sustainable future for the industry.
“This agreement with Air New Zealand will provide us with important insights about how we could put a zero-emission aircraft into service. The joint study will enable us to gain invaluable feedback on what airlines will expect and their preferences in terms of configuration and performance.”
Airbus is currently studying three concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended wing option. The company plans to bring a hydrogen-powered aircraft to the market by 2035.