We recognise our operations have a significant carbon footprint and have many initiatives to reduce that negative impact.
We are a member of the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and have committed to its targets on fuel efficiency and carbon emissions, being:
- 1.5% 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
We were the first airline to take delivery of the revolutionary 787-9 Dreamliner in 2014, an aircraft 20% more fuel efficient than its predecessors. In the past year three new 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft have entered our fleet making a total of six as of June 2016. Over the next five years we plan to invest approximately $2.1 billion in new aircraft. As of June 2016, our average seat-weighted fleet age was 7.5 years, contributing to fuel efficiency gains.
Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction programme
We are achieving fuel efficiency through a range of measures - most notably, investing in a modern fleet then operating it as efficiently as possible. 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, and identifying potential new initiatives to reduce our carbon emissions and fuel costs. The results of the IATA review indicate that, comparative to savings identified at global airline peers, we are one of the world's most fuel-efficient airlines. The average airline carbon reduction measures identified by IATA are five percent. The savings identified for Air New Zealand were much less at 1.46% (approximately 37,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum). This indicates that we are well on the way towards world leading fuel efficiency improvements.
In 2016, we launched a new Carbon Reduction Programme that will enable us to realise further carbon savings. Recognising that significant fuel savings can be made through route optimisation and tailored arrivals and departures with minimal direct Air Traffic Control intervention, we have now engaged with external stakeholders including the Civil Aviation Authority and Airways New Zealand to help drive industry-wide initiatives. Senior members of Air New Zealand and Airways New Zealand will oversee the new 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. Industry activity since these early successes has focussed on the development of commercially viable and environmentally sustainable biofuel supply chains utilising a variety of feedstocks. We continue to investigate opportunities, both local and international, to support and potentially procure advanced generation biofuels. We also continue to play an active role in industry bodies such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. We support New Zealand Crown Research Institute SCION in its development of a ‘biofuels roadmap’ for New Zealand.
Under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, we are responsible for, and have been meeting, legal obligations associated with carbon emissions from domestic aviation fuel use. In addition, Air New Zealand offers customers the opportunity to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their Air New Zealand flights.
Currently aviation jet fuel use comprises approximately 99.5% of our carbon emissions. 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: In the past year we continued to reduce electricity consumption across all areas of our New Zealand business operations. This has contributed to a 40% 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, and in the coming year we will be developing new electricity intensity targets
- Waste: In 2016, we exceeded our target to divert 70% of our domestic ground waste from landfill with 73% of waste being diverted. We have also set a zero waste to landfill target for all Auckland ground sites by 2020 and achieved a recycling rate of 74% in 2016.
Following a series of office refits in 2016, we donated 1500 pieces of used office furniture to Fijian schools rebuilding after Cyclone Winston, with a further 1650 pieces donated to 14 community groups and not-for-profit organisations in New Zealand
- In flight waste: We are actively working to improve our international and domestic jet inflight recycling programmes. In overseas ports we rely on locally based ground service teams to assist with inflight waste.
This year, we collaborated with our Auckland-based inflight catering provider LSG Sky Chefs, and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to develop a new international inflight waste minimisation pilot programme for galley waste. The programme identified inflight catering products from our flights (including international) that, if unused, could be diverted from waste and re-introduced to the supply chain by our caterer. Examples include unopened and non-perishable snacks, dry goods and sealed beverages. Although unopened and untouched, these items would have previously gone to landfill due to biosecurity protocols. The programme has also enabled greater recycling of certain low biosecurity risk packaging off international flights. We will be seeking to maintain and enhance these recycling protocols in coming years.
We also continue to support Auckland International Airport's waste minimisation initiative for non-food cabin waste on inbound flights to New Zealand. This project was initiated by the Air New Zealand Cleaning Team and Operations Delivery Team, who recognised an opportunity to re-introduce unused project back onto flights. The team works with Auckland International Airport's waste management contractor OCS WasteLine, who processes cabin waste and isolates Air New Zealand product. As the initiative gains momentum we now have an Inflight Waste and Recycling team made up of cabin crew representatives, who are focused on encouraging fellow crew members to raise awareness and return unused items back to their allocated stowage positions to avoid the product ending up in landfill. For the year ended June 2016, the project achieved landfill diversion rates of almost 48% by recycling drywaste products that pose no biosecurity risks
- Uniforms: We have initiated a uniform recycling and reuse programme for pre-loved garments to avoid uniforms simply being shredded and sent to landfill. We have started donating unbranded blazers, trench coats, trousers and merino knitwear to charities including Women's Refuge and the Auckland City Mission. For most other garments that cannot be reused due to their condition or because of branding and potential airport security risks, we plan to have these shredded and converted into carpet underlay. In 2016, we estimate our uniform reuse and recycling programmes in New Zealand saved approximately 7 tonnes of material going to landfill
- 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. Over 80 percent of New Zealand's electricity is from renewable sources and we believe electric vehicles are a critical component of New Zealand's low emissions pathway for the transport sector. In 2015 we announced that by the end of 2017 our entire light vehicle fleet will be electric (where viable options exist), and we are on track to achieve this, using a mix of fully electric BMW i3 vehicles, Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE 100 percent electric vans for use at airports, and Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrids for longer range trips due to current regional limitations of charging infrastructure. In 2015, we also set a target for our Ground Service Equipment (GSE) motorised fleet of more than 600 vehicles to be 100 percent electric by 2020, where viable options exist