Air New Zealand pens Letter of Intent for 23 electric aircraft

A render of the Eviation Alice electric aircraft in Air New Zealand livery.
Photo Credit: Eviation

LONDON – As part of Air New Zealand’s ambitious Mission NextGen Aircraft program, the national flag carrier has signed a Letter of Intent for 23 all-electric aircraft, including the Eviation ‘Alice’ aircraft.

The New Zealand national airline is negotiating with several electric and hybrid aircraft developers as part of its program.

The programme has been rolled out to accelerate the development of zero emissions aircraft, their technologies and infrastructure, to provide a greener future for commercial aviation in the country.

Air New Zealand – Mission NextGen

The sustainable Mission NextGen program was launched last month, and the carrier has set itself an aggressive target to be flying the first commercial demonstrator flight during 2026.

If the program bears fruit and is considered viable, then Air New Zealand will begin to phase out its current 23-strong fleet of Bombardier Q300 Dash 8 and replace them with a range of green hydrogen or battery hybrid aircraft from 2030.

Eviation is one of a number of ‘new generation’ aircraft developers that Air New Zealand is presently negotiating with as part of its program.

Gregory Davis, President and CEO of Eviation said: “Regional flights make up a sizeable proportion of Air New Zealand’s routes. The Alice offers an effective way to decarbonize these journeys, revolutionizing air travel and supporting the goals of the Mission NextGen Aircraft program.”

Air New Zealand currently operates a fleet of 98 aircraft, from long range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s, down to the smaller domestic aircraft such as ATR 72 and the aforementioned Bombardier Q300’s.

Domestically, ANZ operate over four hundred daily flights to twenty destinations around the country. This puts into perspective just how much emissions could be saved on a daily basis, if Mission NextGen becomes a reality and begins to operate on all electric aircraft in the future. 

“New Zealand has earned a proud reputation for its progressive attitude and wide-ranging policies towards the climate challenge. The Alice is a beautiful aircraft that will delight airline operators and passengers.”

“Seeing it soar through the skies of New Zealand is a magical prospect, and I pay tribute to Air New Zealand’s commitment to innovation and sustainability,” continued Davis.

Climate change

The Eviation Alice has only nine seats on board but has the potential to provide solid foundations for Air New Zealand’s carbon-free domestic travel in the near future. Boasting two magni650 Electric Propulsion Units (EPU’s) that cost substantially less to operate per hour than conventional domestic jets.

Vice President of Commercial Sales at Eviation, Eddie Jaisaree said: “This endorsement from a national flag carrier shows how the Alice has captured the imagination of the marketplace, New Zealand has just experienced its warmest, wettest winter on record.”

“As the impacts of climate change become more apparent and efforts to regulate aviation’s carbon emissions intensify, we are excited for how the Alice will help Air New Zealand to lead the airline industry into a sustainable future.”

Eviation book orders

As of November 2022 Washington state-based Eviation had nearly three hundred orders in the book for its Alice aircraft, totalling over $2 billion dollars worth, and described by CEO Davis as a “significant commercial milestone.”

It believes that the aircraft is making headway into the thoughts of commercial airlines with its low operating costs and carbon zero footprint.

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