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Air New Zealand Selects BETA’s ALIA as Launch Aircraft for Mission Next Gen Aircraft Programme

Air New Zealand has selected BETA’s ALIA conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) as the first generation aircraft for the carrier’s Mission Next Gen Aircraft Programme.  The aircraft has been purchased and expected to be demonstrated by 2026.

Rendering of Air New Zealand's BETA ALIA All-Electric Battery Powered Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) Aircraft - Courtesy Air New Zealand

On Wednesday (December 6, 2023), Air New Zealand announced that they have selected BETA’s ALIA conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) vehicle as the launch aircraft for their Mission Next Gen Aircraft Programme.  The airline has purchased the aircraft to meet their goal of flying a commercial demonstrator by 2026, and NZ post has been announced as a cargo partner for the demonstrator.  Designed by electric aerospace company BETA Technologies, the battery powered all-electric aircraft was selected following an 18-month period of evaluation by Air New Zealand.  During the evaluation process, the carrier sought and received ideas and insights from 30 organizations, and selected four partners to collaborate on their goal of launching commercial flights using next generation aircraft in 2026. 

In Wednesday’s announcement, Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran, said,

“This is a small but important step in a much larger journey for Air New Zealand.  There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are incredibly committed, and this purchase marks a new chapter for the airline.  Decarbonising aviation isn't easy, and we have a lot of work to do.  We need to accelerate the pace of change in the technology, infrastructure, operations and regulation.

“While this aircraft will add to, not replace our existing fleet, it is a catalyst for that change.  By flying the ALIA, we hope to advance our knowledge and the transformation needed in the aviation system in Aotearoa for us to fly larger, fleet replacing, next generation aircraft from 2030.”

Also commenting on the next generation aircraft collaboration, BETA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kyle Clark, said,

“Air New Zealand is hyper focused on bringing technologies to scale as quickly as possible, both to meet its own ambitions to decarbonise and to change the broader aviation landscape.  Over the past year plus of partnership, collaboration, and diligence, we’ve seen Air New Zealand’s forward-thinking, yet pragmatic and methodical approach to innovation.

“We are gratified by the airline's confidence in our technology as a solution that will meet their operational needs and look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand as we bring the ALIA to market for 2026.”

Air New Zealand Announces BETA's ALIA as Launch Aircraft for Mission Next Gen Aircraft Programme - Courtesy Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has ordered the CTOL version of BETA’s ALIA, in a deal that includes one firm order and options for 20 more.  During testing, the ALIA has flown over 480 kilometers in a single flight.  For Air New Zealand’s initial flights, the carrier is targeting routes of around 150 kilometers, and plans on flying at altitudes between 1,500 and 3,000 meters.  At just over 12 meters long and weighing three tonnes, ALIA can fly at speeds of up to 270 kilometers per hour, and is expected to be fully-charged in 40-60 minutes. 

Air New Zealand Expects to Deploy Their BETA ALIA Commercial Demonstrator in 2026 - Courtesy Air New Zealand


Source: Air New Zealand


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