Wellington Airport will be home to New Zealand’s first electric air service


Air New Zealand has chosen Wellington and Marlborough Airports as the sites for its first all-electric aircraft service in New Zealand.

The service, set to begin as cargo-only, will use BETA Technologies’ conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) all-electric Alia aircraft. Air New Zealand announced the purchase of this first electric aircraft late last year. 

Wellington Airport will act as the home base for the aircraft, while Marlborough Airport will also establish charging infrastructure to power the Alia for the return journey.

“We are incredibly grateful to both Wellington and Marlborough airports for being so willing to take on a leadership role in supporting Air New Zealand to establish next generation aircraft capability in our business,” said Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Kiri Hannifin.

“Their involvement is critical in supporting the infrastructure required to fly next-generation aircraft, and they’ll help lead the way in supporting airports across Aotearoa [Māori-language name for New Zealand] to make the changes needed for us to fly larger lower-emissions aircraft on our domestic network from 2030.”

Hosting the commercial demonstrator is a “real coup” for the airport, said Wellington Airport CEO Matt Clarke.

“Partnering with Air New Zealand to host the commercial demonstrator is a giant leap for sustainable aviation, providing the basis for all airports to prepare for the next generation of aircraft technology. Our team put their heart and soul into the hosting bid and that same energy will now be focussed on getting this service off the ground,” he explained.

Dean Heiford, Marlborough Airport CEO added: “This is a big step for us on our own sustainability journey that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve without partnership. We’re looking forward to sharing our learnings with other regional airports across New Zealand. Hosting the demonstrator with Wellington will further cement Marlborough as an important hub to keep New Zealand connected across the Cook Strait.”

In December, 2022 Air New Zealand announced VoltAero, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Eviation Aircraft, alongside BETA Technologies, as members of the airline’s Mission NextGen Aircraft programme. The national carrier has ambitions to begin receiving sustainable aircraft deliveries from 2026.