On Wednesday 6 December, Air New Zealand announced its goal of becoming the first airline to integrate an electric aircraft into its fleet. The aircraft will be battery operated from 2026 to transport cargo.
New Zealand's national carrier has ordered the Alia electric aircraft from US aerospace manufacturer Beta Technologies. It is expected that the device will first be used to deliver parcels and letters across the country. ” We aim to be the first airline to use new generation aircraft for commercial flights.said Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kerry Hanifin.
Air New Zealand said in a statement that the battery-powered plane can be fully recharged in about an hour. This model is about 12 meters long and weighs three tons, and it traveled a distance of 480 kilometers in one test flight. Its maximum speed is 270 km/h, and it can fly at an altitude of up to 3,000 meters above sea level. Once certified, it will be used for initial flights of about 150 kilometres.
The company has not yet set a date for potential passenger flights on electric aircraft. Air New Zealand has an option to purchase nearly two dozen more Aliya electric aircraft. “Next generation aircraft have the potential to decarbonize our regional operationsGreg Foran, the airline's chief executive, told reporters in Auckland he hoped the integration of the Aliyah into its fleet would allow Air New Zealand to develop this electric technology and fly more new generation aircraft in bulk from 2030.
Aerospace company Beta Technologies, which will build Alia for Air New Zealand, is based in the US state of Vermont. It is developing electric aircraft with conventional take-off and other models with vertical take-off. It has received funding from Fidelity Fund and Amazon's fundraising group, according to its website.
Elsewhere in the world, Scandinavian Airlines announced last May that it plans to carry passengers on its first commercial electric flights in 2028.
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