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Air New Zealand Receives 500,000-Litre Delivery Of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Air New Zealand has this week received a shipment of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) into Wellington, its first delivery to the nation’s capital city and another small step towards its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Manufactured by EcoCeres in China from 100 percent used cooking oil and supplied and blended by Exxon Mobil, the 500,000-litre delivery is equivalent to *165 flights on an A320 aircraft between Auckland and Wellington. The SAF delivered to Wellington represents life-cycle carbon emissions savings of at least 80 percent compared with fossil jet fuel.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, Kiri Hannifin says moving away from purely using fossil fuels for Air New Zealand’s operations is critical.  

“As the main driver of climate change, the global economy, including New Zealand, must rapidly transition away from our high reliance on fossil fuels.  For a small island nation in the South Pacific, alternatives are even more important because we are heavily reliant on flying to connect with each other in our own country, as well as when we travel abroad.  Aviation also plays a very important role supporting New Zealand’s trade and tourism sectors.  

“To keep doing all these activities which enrich our country’s economy we must act as quickly as we can to transition to a lower-carbon future.  At the moment, SAF is the key way aviation will move towards this.  

“Airlines are signing supply arrangements for SAF 10 years into the future and beyond, so we need to be part of the picture from the start otherwise New Zealand may fall behind.  While the volumes of SAF we are buying are very small compared to the amount of fossil jet fuel we use, they give an important signal to alternative fuel producers that we are open for business,” says Ms Hannifin.  

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“We’ve seen increased international momentum around SAF in the past few months, with airlines, governments, airports, and fuel companies all getting on board with alternative fuels at pace. 

“From 2026, our aircraft will be required to uplift SAF when we fly home from Singapore and Vancouver. Japan has announced a SAF requirement from 2030, and other countries are also making signals that SAF will be mandated for all airlines for outbound flights including in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. 

“These moves across different jurisdictions are being put in place to stimulate and fast track the production of alternative fuels and encourage oil and gas companies to speed up their transition away from fossil fuels.”  

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says, “Transport energy accounts for 18 percent of New Zealand’s total emissions, so it is encouraging to see the industry take steps towards sustainable practices as New Zealand transitions to a low emissions future.”  

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced the production of SAF is projected to triple in 2024 but will still only be able to supply 0.53 percent of total aviation fuel needs. Air New Zealand is currently involved in two feasibility studies which look at opportunities for local production of alternative jet fuels.


  • This SAF shipment will be used on Air New Zealand’s ATR aircraft.  
  • This 500,000-litre delivery is made from used cooking oil and will be added to the New Zealand jet fuel supply.  
  • Sustainable aviation fuel is a type of aviation fuel derived from sources that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF is designed to be a direct replacement for traditional fossil-based jet fuel, and once blended it can be used in existing aircraft and infrastructure without requiring significant modifications.  
  • Sustainable aviation fuel is derived from renewable sources such as plant oils, waste oils, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, and woody biomass – it offers up to 80% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

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