Carbon

Our goal is for Air New Zealand to stabilise emissions through carbon neutral growth post 2020, in a way that simultaneously drives significant environmental, social and economic benefits.

Air transport is essential to New Zealand's trade, exports, investment and tourism industries and plays a critical role connecting our people to the world, and the world to us.

These benefits are, however, counterweighed by the aviation industry's significant climate change impact, with the global sector contributing at least 2% of global emissions, and rising.

Carbon management

We recognise our operations have a significant carbon footprint and have many initiatives to reduce our impact.

We are a member of the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and have committed to its targets on fuel efficiency and carbon emissions, being:

  • 1.5% average annual fuel efficiency improvement between 2010 and 2020
  • Carbon neutral growth from 2020
  • A reduction of 50% in net emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels

Our fleet

One of the most significant ways to reduce emissions is by operating a modern and efficient fleet. We were the first airline to take delivery of the revolutionary 787-9 Dreamliner in 2014 and we retired our last Boeing 767 aircraft from our fleet in March this year. As at 30 June 2017, our 103 aircraft have an average seat-weighted age of seven years.

Over the next four years we plan to invest approximately $1.5 billion in new and more efficient aircraft.

Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction programme

In 2016, we engaged an independent IATA Operational Efficiency team to conduct an on-site review of our operations, benchmarking our performance against carbon management international best practice.

The average airline carbon reduction measures identified by IATA are 5%. The savings identified for Air New Zealand were much less at 1.46% (approximately 37,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum), which indicates that we are well on the way towards world leading fuel efficiency improvements.

In 2016, we launched a new Carbon Reduction Programme that will enable us to realise further carbon savings.

Recognising significant fuel savings can be made through route optimisation and tailored arrivals and departures, we now engage with external stakeholders including the Civil Aviation Authority and Airways New Zealand as part of our Carbon Reduction Programme to help drive industry-wide initiatives. Senior members of Air New Zealand and Airways New Zealand will oversee the new programme to ensure initiatives are on track.

Sustainable biofuels

Air New Zealand flew one of the aviation industry's first biofuel test flights back in 2008, using a jatropha-derived second generation biofuel, which proved the technical feasibility of using alternative fuels. The test flight also provided supporting data to the subsequent (ASTM) certification of plant based biofuels for commercial airline operations. Industry activity since these early successes has focussed on the development of commercially viable and environmentally sustainable biofuel supply chains utilising a variety of feedstocks. We continue to investigate opportunities, both local and international, to support and potentially procure advanced generation biofuels. We also continue to play an active role in industry bodies such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. We support New Zealand Crown Research Institute SCION in its development of a 'biofuels roadmap' for New Zealand.

Offsetting

Under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, we are responsible for, and have been meeting, legal obligations associated with carbon emissions from domestic aviation fuel use. In addition, Air New Zealand offers customers the opportunity to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their Air New Zealand flights.

Operational initiatives

Currently aviation jet fuel use comprises approximately 99.5% of our carbon emissions. However, we are also committed to reducing our environmental impacts at every level of our operations. This includes ground services emissions encompassing transport, buildings and waste management.

  • Electricity: This year we continued to reduce electricity consumption across all areas of our New Zealand business operations. This contributed to a 43% reduction of electricity consumption across our New Zealand ground operations since 2011. Our chosen New Zealand electricity provider's generation portfolio is based entirely on renewable sources, and in the coming year we will be developing new electricity intensity targets
  • Waste: In 2017, we diverted 76.8% from landfill at Auckland ground sites, and have set a zero waste to landfill target for all Auckland ground sites by the end of 2020
  • Inflight waste: New waste management infrastructure is now enabling paper coffee cups to be recycled in certain parts of New Zealand and in response we have rolled out coffee cup recycling on our domestic jet services
    For international waste arriving at Auckland, 49% of dry (cabin) waste is now recycled rather than going to landfill. Following collaboration with our major caterer LSG Skychefs and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), some 40 untouched and unopened inflight products that were previously sent to landfill, are now being retrieved and put back into circulation.
    Recycling of non-biosecurity risk packaging is also occurring. In the coming year, we will be measuring volumes of landfill diversion achieved by this collaborative project
  • Uniforms & furniture: We have continued recycling uniforms and furniture. Approximately five tonnes of uniforms avoided disposal in landfill in the past year, and we estimate that over 500 pieces of furniture were distributed to not-for-profit groups across Auckland and to Fiji
  • Electric vehicles: We aim to lead the way on the ground by operating one of New Zealand's most technologically advanced, renewably powered electric ground fleets. In 2015, we announced that by the end of 2017 our entire light vehicle fleet will be electric (where viable options exist). We have since achieved this target, with 76 light vehicles being transition to electric. We also set a target of 55% electric Ground Service Equipment (GSE) (where feasible) by end of 2018, and 100% by end of 2020. In 2017 we made good progress, with 50.7% of GSE transitioned to electric

Find out more in our 2017 Sustainability Report.

You can also read about key activities and projects in the report: Aviation Carbon Reduction, Low Carbon Stationary Energy, Low Carbon Ground Transport, Waste management and Property and infrastructure.

Air New Zealand offers customers the opportunity to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their Air New Zealand flights. Find out more.