Air New Zealand and Virgin are going to make their own aviation biofuel

Cooking oil to be recycled into biofuels. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are investigating producing aviation biofuel, created from waste plant material.

David Morgan, Air New Zealand’s chief flight operations and safety officer, says the airline recognises the impact aviation has on the environment.

“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,” says Morgan.

Airlines are generally benefiting from cheaper fuel because of falling prices for oil.

However, aviation biofuel offers a significant opportunity to cut carbon emissions while building long-term fuel security, according to Robert Wood, Virgin Australia’s head of sustainability.

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

“We are confident that 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.”

The airlines have issued a Request for Information to the market to explore the opportunity to get locally-made aviation biofuel. Interested parties have until May 30 to express their interest.

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