Singapore agreement boosts aviation sustainability action

20 April 2022

Ongoing efforts to increase the sustainability of the New Zealand aviation sector have been given a major boost by the signing of a Sustainable Aviation Arrangement (SAA) between New Zealand and Singapore.

Despite COVID ravaging their profitability, airlines and airports have remained focused on the four areas of cooperation covered in the SAA says Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ).

“Today’s announcement is a great step forward for New Zealand’s aviation sector. We will be working jointly with Singapore on the policy, investment and the research needed to deploy sustainable aviation fuels, including SAF and hydrogen, as well as next generation ‘novel propulsion’ aircraft,” Tighe-Umbers says.

Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, says: “Climate change isn’t something that can be solved by New Zealand alone. As a small island nation, air travel is critical in keeping our people and economy connected. But it’s vital that we find a more sustainable way to do this.

“We are working closely with industry partners in Singapore, including Neste on sustainable aviation fuel ambitions and Airbus and other partners on green-hydrogen and electric aircraft, so today’s arrangement will provide another important pathway on our journey towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Along with Air New Zealand, New Zealand’s main international airports are very supportive of this initiative seeing it a way to accelerate the journey to which the whole industry is committed.

Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui says climate change needs to be a strategic priority for the industry. The airport has a target of reducing its own direct emissions to net zero by 2030 and is well on track to achieve this . It is very supportive of the agreement seeking to further reduce emissions in the wider aviation sector.

“Auckland Airport is pleased to be able to support this agreement and we look forward to working closely with our aviation sector partners on how we can reduce emissions across our industry,” Hurihanganui says.

Christchurch Airport became the first airport in the world in 2020 to be awarded the highest standard of Airport Carbon Accreditation, “Transformation” of ACA Level 4. This year it has gone one step further going beyond net zero to become climate positive after reducing 90% of its scope 1 emissions and voluntarily supporting permanent New Zealand native forestry restoration that removes GHG emissions from the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, New Zealanders may also soon be able to vote with their feet to join the New Zealand-Singapore effort to build a sustainable aviation sector.

Justin Tighe-Umbers said that options to take “green lane flights” between New Zealand and Singapore” may soon take to the air. These flights, using a percentage of sustainable aviation fuel, will demonstrate the commitment of New Zealand and Singapore to taking a leading role in de-carbonising the aviation sector.