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Air New Zealand Launches Environmental Programmes

27 March 2008

Air New Zealand Launches Environmental Programmes

Air New Zealand customers are now able to make an active contribution to environmental sustainability.

Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe announced today in Auckland the formation of an environment trust committed to funding research and development into alternative fuels and supporting projects that enhance New Zealand's clean, green reputation around the world.

Mr Fyfe also announced that alongside this trust, Air New Zealand customers would from today, have the option to fund the purchase of carbon credits to offset their travel through the company's website .

The carbon offset facility will be made progressively available to customers outside New Zealand through the airline's international websites later in the year.

"When customers purchase a flight on Air New Zealand, they will now be able to make a conscious choice about whether or not to take positive steps toward helping our environment," says Mr Fyfe.

Examples of the cost of offsetting include:

Return Trip
CO2 emissions
Carbon offset cost
$ 4.50
Auckland-Los Angeles
2.6 tonnes

The first carbon credits that Air New Zealand has secured are Emission Reduction Units from TrustPower's Tararua windfarm. The project was awarded these Kyoto carbon credits as part of the Government's Projects to Reduce Emissions programme.

Customers will also be given the option on-line of making a donation to the Air New Zealand Environment Trust once the Trust has gained charitable status which is expected to be in May.

Trustees will include well known environmentalists, Rob Fenwick and Ruud Kleinpaste, both of whom have a strong interest in ecological issues in New Zealand. They will be joined on the trust by Air New Zealand Deputy Chief Executive Norm Thompson and General Counsel John Blair as well as a third independent trustee.

The Trustees will be given the task of identifying and managing projects which meet the criteria of the new Trust, which Air New Zealand is initially underwriting up to $450,000.

Air New Zealand will make regular contributions to the Trust as a means of offsetting the carbon footprint of its staff travelling by air on business.

"The establishment of the Trust, which we expect will receive several million dollars in funding annually from customers, is an extremely exciting initiative. We are confident it will really engage customers, as they will directly have an impact on research and development into alternative fuels and supporting projects that help sustain New Zealand's environment and biodiversity," says Mr Fyfe.

The first project of the Trust will be a conservation programme involving more than 100 acres on Mangarara Station in Hawke's Bay. The owners of the station, Greg and Rachel Hart, are keen to develop a model sustainable farming system which will include a native reforestation project, pastoral tree planting and a holistic approach to soil management.

A key part of the initiative is that the public will have access to the historic Hawke's Bay farming station to see the project as it develops.

"Greg and Rachel have a rare vision and commitment to achieving sustainability and a willingness to share that with all New Zealanders and visitors to our nation," says Mr Fyfe.

"The project at Mangarara Station is one that all New Zealanders should be proud of."

Greg Hart says the vision for Mangarara Station is simple.

"We want to work with nature to create a living and breathing example of what sustainable farming might look like and involve as many New Zealanders or visitors to our shores as possible in the project. We hope that this will be another small step in our nation's journey to credibly show that we are serious about protecting the environment for future generations," says Mr Hart.

"The idea to develop a model of sustainable farming, convert marginal hill country into native bush and offer a place for people to reconnect with the land was the easy part. However, finding a partner who shared our vision for environmental responsibility was difficult until we stumbled across the fact that Air New Zealand was about to take its environmental commitments to another level. We have nothing but admiration for what the national carrier is endeavouring to do for our nation's green credentials on the world stage."

The Air New Zealand Environment Trust has reached agreement in principle with Mangarara Station which would see the Trust financially contribute to the purchase and planting of 85,000 trees over the next three years to create the conservation reserve, which the farm is placing under covenant to protect for future generations.

Today's announcement follows on from a range of environmental initiatives underway by Air New Zealand as it seeks to take a key leadership role on environmental matters in the aviation industry.

Its broad range of initiatives includes:

* Being at the forefront of the drive to develop sustainable fuels for air travel through a partnership with Boeing and Rolls Royce. This will see a Boeing 747 test flight take place later this year utilising a sustainable biofuel.

* Striving to have the world's youngest and most fuel efficient long haul fleet within five years through investments in the Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.

* Reducing CO2 emissions on the jet fleet by more than 100,000 tonnes over the past three years through initiatives such as weight reduction, continuous descent profiles and greater use of ground power while aircraft are at airport gates

* Establishing a company Green Team which more than 2000 Air New Zealanders have joined.


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