Air transport is essential to New Zealand's trade, exports, investment and tourism industries and plays a critical role connecting our people to the world, and the world to us.
These benefits are, however, counterweighed by the aviation industry's significant climate change impact, with the global sector contributing at least 2% of global emissions, and rising.
We recognise our operations have a significant carbon footprint and have many initiatives to reduce our impact.
We are a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and have committed to its targets on fuel efficiency and carbon emissions, being:
- 5% average annual fuel efficiency improvement between 2010 and 2020
- Carbon neutral growth from 2020
- A reduction of 50% in net emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels
Find out more about our carbon management in our 2018 Sustainability Report.
One of the most significant ways to reduce emissions is by operating a modern and efficient fleet. We were the first airline to take delivery of the revolutionary 787-9 Dreamliner in 2014 and we retired our last Boeing 767 aircraft from our fleet in March 2017. As at 30 June 2018, our 109 aircraft have an average seat-weighted age of 7.5 years.
Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction programme
Air New Zealand is one of New Zealand's largest carbon emitters. In 2018 our carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emissions) increased by three percent, primarily due to a five percent increase in Air New Zealand's network capacity.
In 2016, we engaged an independent IATA Operational Efficiency team to conduct an on-site review of our operations, benchmarking our performance against carbon management international best practice.
The average airline carbon reduction measures identified by IATA are 5%. The savings identified for Air New Zealand were much less at 1.46% (approximately 37,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum), which indicates that we are well on the way towards world leading fuel efficiency improvements.
In 2016, we launched a Carbon Reduction Programme that will enable us to realise further carbon savings.
Recognising significant fuel savings can be made through route optimisation and tailored arrivals and departures, we now engage with external stakeholders including the Civil Aviation Authority and Airways New Zealand as part of our Carbon Reduction Programme to help drive industry wide initiatives. Senior members of Air New Zealand and Airways New Zealand oversee the programme to ensure initiatives are on track.
Air New Zealand flew one of the aviation industry's first biofuel test flights back in 2008, using a jatropha-derived second generation biofuel, which proved the technical feasibility of using alternative fuels. The test flight also provided supporting data to the subsequent (ASTM) certification of plant-based biofuels for commercial airline operations.
We continue to investigate opportunities, both local and international, to support and potentially procure advanced generation biofuels.
Find out more in the Carbon section of our 2018 Sustainability Report.
Offsetting with Air New Zealand's FlyNeutral carbon offset programme
In addition to the carbon reduction strategies and programmes outlined above, we also offer the ability for our customers to offset their Air New Zealand flights under our FlyNeutral carbon offset programme.
FlyNeutral supports and encourages our customers to minimise the impact of their air travel on the environment through offsetting the greenhouse gas ('carbon') emissions associated with their Air New Zealand flights.
FlyNeutral makes offsetting easier to understand for all our customers. For our business customers, we have also made understanding, reporting and offsetting air travel-related carbon emissions more efficient, transparent and flexible.
To learn more about FlyNeutral and how you can offset your flight-related travel emissions with Air New Zealand, see FlyNeutral.
At Air New Zealand, we voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with our staff travelling for work on the Air New Zealand network. Join us and offset your Air New Zealand flights with FlyNeutral.
FlyNeutral operates separately to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. Funds received from customers for offsetting under the FlyNeutral programme do not go towards our compliance costs associated with the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme - all funds go towards the purchase of additional certified carbon credits. We comply with our obligations under that scheme and manage all compliance requirements at our cost.
Aviation fuel efficiency is the most significant way we can reduce our carbon footprint, far outweighing other factors such as ground fleet fuel use and stationary energy reductions. However, we are also committed to reducing our environmental impacts at every level of our operations. This includes ground services emissions encompassing transport, buildings and waste management.
- Electricity: We continue to reduce electricity consumption across all areas of our New Zealand business operations. In 2018, this contributed to a 43% reduction of electricity consumption across our New Zealand ground operations since 2011. Our chosen New Zealand electricity provider's generation portfolio is based entirely on renewable sources.
- Waste: In 2018 we diverted 73.4% from landfill at Auckland ground sites, and have set a zero waste to landfill target for all Auckland ground sites by the end of 2020. Find out more in the Waste and Plastics section of our 2018 Sustainability Report.
- Inflight waste: For international waste arriving at Auckland, 46.2% international dry waste is now recycled rather than going to landfill. Following collaboration with our major caterer LSG Skychefs and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), some 40 untouched and unopened inflight products that were previously sent to landfill, are now being retrieved and put back into circulation.
- Electric vehicles: We aim to lead the way on the ground by operating one of New Zealand's most technologically advanced, renewably powered electric ground fleets. In 2015, we announced that by the end of 2017 our entire light vehicle fleet will be electric (where viable options exist). We have since achieved this target, with 77 light vehicles being transition to electric. We also consider emissions from our ground service vehicles – 52 percent of ground service equipment (GSE) including 30 percent of baggage tugs are electric.