Air New Zealand second airline globally to announce ambitious science-based emissions reduction target
The interim target, validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), requires a 28.9% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030, from a 2019 baseline. This equates to a 16.3% reduction in absolute emissions over the period.
Science-based targets validated by the SBTi show companies how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Setting a science-based target allows businesses to set a robust and credible carbon reduction target that is independently assessed to ensure it aligns with the latest climate science.
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer David Morgan says this is a critical milestone on the airline's journey to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as it provides a clear signal of where we need to be by 2030, in order to meet the 2050 goal.
"This interim target will drive activity today and set the airline up for success in achieving its net zero 2050 target."
"Getting the target validated by the SBTi was a rigorous process and something we are incredibly proud to have achieved. Our GHG emissions were reviewed in detail by the SBTi to ensure we had an accurate emissions baseline and science-based target set.
"This target makes us accountable today. Implementing our decarbonisation roadmap will be critical to achieving this target - with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), continued fleet renewal, operational efficiency, and zero emissions aircraft technologies all playing a role.
"Our key focus areas are SAF and the adoption of zero emissions aircraft technologies as they have the potential to reduce our emissions by approximately 70% by 2050. We already have several initiatives in the works including a partnership with the Government to scope the feasibility of a SAF production plant in New Zealand and our world-leading Product Requirements Document currently in market to accelerate the development of hydrogen, electric, and hybrid aircraft. These are the initiatives that will drive real change in reducing our emissions and we're incredibly focused on delivering them as quickly as possible."
Chair of Air New Zealand's external Sustainability Advisory Panel Sir Jonathon Porritt says there are two things all passengers should look to when assessing an airline's response to accelerating climate change: ambition level and trustworthiness.
"In a sector where it will be challenging to make rapid and authentic change, Air New Zealand is to be congratulated on setting this science-based target to demonstrate its sincerity of intent. A 16.3% absolute reduction by 2030 is certainly achievable, but it will be hard. And its readiness to be held to account by the SBTi (and other stakeholders) is significant.
"As the world continues to understand the full extent of the climate emergency, every airline will need to set equivalent targets - and then deliver on them, come what may."
Notes to editor
Carbon intensity means the GHG emissions per revenue tonne kilometre (RTK). RTK is a measure of passenger and cargo payload carried by Air New Zealand.
The target requires Air New Zealand to reduce the carbon intensity associated with the "well to wake" emissions from the jet fuel it uses. These are the entire life cycle emissions of the jet fuel and includes emissions from the use of jet fuel in flight (referred to as scope 1 emissions) as well as the emissions generated by the extraction, production, and distribution of that fuel (referred to as category 3, scope 3 emissions).
Air New Zealand's target is aligned to a 'well-below 2°C' pathway. The SBTi is developing a more ambitious 1.5°C aligned methodology for aviation. Air New Zealand will continue to engage with the SBTi on this methodology and will evaluate the 1.5°C pathway once it is released.
Air New Zealand will track and report its progress against the target annually.
More information on Air New Zealand's Flight NZ0 journey here.
Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 98 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 6.7 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service AirlineRatings.com, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. This year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row. Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Airpoints, Air New Zealand's loyalty programme, is seen as the most valuable loyalty programme in New Zealand with 3.5 million members. It allows members to earn Airpoints Dollars™ and Status Points for VIP benefits in the air and on the ground. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.
About Star Alliance
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.