Air New Zealand backs Government's biofules mandate as 'great news for future of travel'

Air New Zealand is backing the Government announcing it will implement a biofuels mandate that will help Aotearoa reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector.

The airline's CEO Greg Foran was at the Government's announcement on Thursday with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw and Transport Minister Michael Wood.

Foran said pursuing biofuels is a necessary step in reaching New Zealand's shared net zero by 2050 goal.

"COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our airline, but it has not slowed our commitment to decarbonising our business. We see today's announcement as a major step forward for the wider transport sector, and we're supportive of a national strategy for decarbonising the economy, accompanied by appropriate policy settings and investment," he said.

The announcement also addressed other transport industries and their use of renewable energy, too.

The Government announced it would pass clean car import standard legislation this year to cut emissions and fuel costs, as well as committing to purchasing only zero emission public transport buses from 2025 and ensuring the current public transport bus fleet is decarbonised by 2035.

"It's great news for New Zealand and great news for the future of travel and our key export industries which rely on low carbon air transport," Foran said.

"We flew the world's first commercial aviation test flight powered by a sustainable second-generation biofuel in 2008, and today's announcement brings us a step closer to making commercial flights powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuels a reality.

"While we see hydrogen-powered or electric aircraft as viable options for our domestic and short haul network, being able to access Sustainable Aviation Fuels at a competitive price will be very important for us when it comes to decarbonising our long haul operations." Foran said.

Air NZ is part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Consortium alongside Z Energy, Scion and Refining NZ. The consortium's goal is to develop a roadmap for sustainable aviation fuel to become the norm for air travel in Aotearoa.