Air New Zealand (ANZ) on Friday outlined a wide-ranging sustainability plan that would see it replace its De Havilland Dash 8-300s with either green hydrogen or battery-powered aircraft in 2030. The plan, titled Mission Next Gen Program, stems from the airline’s December release of a Product Requirements Document (PRD) that saw more than 30 aircraft developers respond with ideas and insights to guide the technology development.
The airline said it remains in “close negotiations” over letters of intent to order aircraft in 2026. ANZ said it will announce partners by the end of this year and embark on a selection process that would last another year. The airline now operates 23 Dash 8-300s averaging 15 years of age.
“The next three years will be focused on supporting the building, testing, and certifying of aircraft and associated infrastructure. By 2026, we’re aiming to have our first zero-emission aircraft—either cargo or passenger—take flight in New Zealand,” said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran. “We’re breaking new ground here—it’s not just the aircraft that needs to be developed, but also the infrastructure and regulation required to fly commercially…We know these goals are ambitious, but ambition is exactly what is required to make this new technology a reality.”
According to ANZ, the PRD process highlighted how New Zealand and the airline itself are ideally suited to lead the development of zero-emission aircraft deployment and the establishment of supporting infrastructure.
“We mainly operate short-range routes up and down the country, and New Zealand is largely built on renewable electricity generation,” added Foran. “It’s an ideal landscape to adopt zero-emission aircraft. But we can’t do it alone. It will take the minds of many within the industry to find the right solution. The technology is getting there, it just needs to be developed to a scale we can roll out across our network. It’s a wicked problem to solve but we’re two feet in.”
ANZ also highlighted the importance of adopting sustainable aviation fuel in the near-term, while the airline continues to operate conventional aircraft.