Trans-Tasman airlines to boost biofuels

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Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are looking to buy locally-produced aviation biofuel as part of a new partnership.

In a boost for the aviation biofuel sector, the trans-Tasman alliance partners said they have released a request for information (RFI) to the market for aviation biofuel.

Virgin head of sustainability Robert Wood said helping develop aviation biofuel production would reduce emissions and build “long-term fuel security for the sector”.

“We are seeing the development of the aviation biofuel industry accelerate internationally but that is not yet the case for our region,” Mr Wood said.

“We are confident 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.”

Air New Zealand chief flight operations and safety officer David Morgan said the RFI was part of the airline’s carbon management program.

“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,” Captain Morgan said in a statement.

Interested parties have until 30 May 2016 to express their interest in the Air NZ/Virgin RFI.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) target for the industry is to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020, and a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

Moreover, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a target of 10 per cent alternative fuels by 2017 and aspirations to build an aircraft that produced no emissions within 50 years. towards meeting the industry’s carbon emissions targets.