Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia go in search of opportunities for locally-produced aviation biofuels
Wed 16 Mar 2016 – Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have joined forces to investigate the options for developing locally-produced aviation biofuels and have issued a Request for Information (RFI) to potential interested parties. The trans-Tasman alliance partners say they are looking to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply in the region that delivers environmental, social and economic benefits. With a test flight in December 2008, Air New Zealand became the world’s first airline to use a second-generation sustainable aviation biofuel. The two-hour Boeing 747 flight used a 50/50 blend of jatropha oil sourced from Africa and India in one of its four engines and the airline had ambitions for a major uptake of sustainable aviation fuels that did not materialise. Virgin Australia too has announced sustainable biofuel initiatives in the past, including a Western Australia venture involving biomass sourced from mallee trees.
Air Zealand’s Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, said the new RFI was a key initiative under its carbon management programme.
“By working in partnership with our alliance partner Virgin Australia, we hope we can stimulate the local market, drive innovation and investment, and potentially uncover a sustainable biofuel supply suitable for our respective operations,” he said.
Robert Wood, Head of Sustainability at Virgin Australia, said the airline remained committed to stimulating the development of a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the region.
“Aviation biofuel offers a significant opportunity for the aviation industry to reduce emissions while also building long-term fuel security for the sector,” he said. “We are seeing the development of the aviation biofuel industry accelerate internationally but that is not yet the case for our region.
“We are confident that our collaboration with Air New Zealand to procure a large volume of aviation biofuel will de-risk investment in the sector, creating high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the region.”
The closing date for expressions of interest is 30 May 2016, which can be made by email to Air New Zealand’s Bio Fuel Project Manager, Chris Field, or Procurement Manager Jonny Gaze.