Supporting a low carbon future

Air New Zealand is committed to helping customers minimise the impact of their air travel on the environment.

Through a voluntary carbon offset programme, Air New Zealand offers customers the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions associated with Air New Zealand flights.

Carbon offset programme

What are carbon emissions and why should I offset them?

Carbon emissions are generated from the use of aviation fuel as part of an airline's operation.

Carbon offsetting involves the use of carbon credits ('offsets') to enable businesses and individuals to compensate for emissions associated with travel in order to meet their carbon reduction goals and support the move to a low carbon economy.

How does it work?

When booking online, a customer's carbon emissions for their flight(s) and the cost to offset them is automatically calculated and displayed. If a customer decides to offset their carbon emissions (or for other passengers who are on the same booking), the cost of emission units will be added to the total paid for the flight(s).

As the offset contributions are then used to purchase offset units on behalf of customers, Air New Zealand is unable to provide refunds for purchased offsets for any reason (refer to our terms and conditions for further details).

How is the amount of a customer's carbon emissions calculated?

Two key factors are taken into account - the distance travelled and Air New Zealand specific CO2 emission factors.

The emission factors are based on information collected from the previous financial year of the actual fuel used across our different fleet types and the number of passengers and weight of cargo carried. A factor is also applied based on whether a passenger is travelling in Business Premier™, Premium Economy or Economy class (as this alters the space and weight allocated to a passenger). Air New Zealand-specific CO2 emission factors are reviewed and adjusted (where necessary) on an annual basis.

Under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Air New Zealand has an obligation to offset emissions associated with New Zealand domestic flights (currently the ETS imposes a 67 percent obligation). This obligation is met entirely by Air New Zealand, not via a separate charge to customers. The emissions calculator however enables customers to participate in additional voluntary carbon offsetting beyond the ETS obligations that Air New Zealand satisfies.

How is the cost of my emissions units (carbon credits) estimated?

The cost of offset unit purchase represents the price Air New Zealand pays for offset units purchased for use in its carbon emissions offset programme. The cost of emissions units will vary over time, depending upon movements in the carbon market price and the online calculator will be adjusted accordingly to account for this.

All of your contribution, net of tax, funds the purchase of emissions units. Air New Zealand does not take an administrative or other fee.

What does Air New Zealand do with the money paid to offset carbon emissions?

All money, net of tax, contributed by customers to offset their CO2 emissions funds the purchase of offset units that represent reductions in greenhouse gases. Air New Zealand does not take an administrative or any other fee.

It is Air New Zealand's intention to purchase offset units from the projects highlighted on its website. However from time to time Air New Zealand may purchase these from other sources if required.

What offset units (or carbon credits) is Air New Zealand currently purchasing on behalf of customers?

The native forest restoration projects being supported through the carbon offset programme are located in the Far North, Waikato and Wellington regions in New Zealand. The land and forests associated with these projects are owned and managed by the Native Forest Restoration Trust

Carbon offset units are generated from these projects following qualification through the New Zealand Government's Permanent Forest Sink Initiative. This Government-endorsed sustainable forestry programme enables landowners to receive carbon units through the creation of permanent forests (where a landowner agrees to restrict forest harvesting via a land covenant). More information on the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries' website.

The native forestry projects are both sequestering carbon emissions as well as contributing to New Zealand's biodiversity and enabling community engagement through planting activities coordinated by a native forest restoration trust.

Additional or alternative carbon offset projects may be confirmed from time to time in order to meet customer demand.

What else is Air New Zealand doing to reduce its environmental impact and address carbon emissions?

Air New Zealand's Sustainability Framework is focused on supercharging New Zealand's success – socially, environmentally and economically. A key goal under the framework is to minimise the airline's impact on the environment.

More information on Air New Zealand's sustainability initiatives can be found in the sustainability section of Air New Zealand's website.

Aviation emissions

Air New Zealand has committed to the aviation industry's three major carbon targets - 1.5 percent annual fuel efficiency improvement through until 2020, carbon neutral growth from 2020, and a 50 percent reduction in net emissions by 2050 versus a 2005 baseline. Air New Zealand also has a carbon emissions obligation under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and is responsible for the emissions associated with its domestic operation (currently 67% of domestic emissions).

Air New Zealand operates a young and fuel efficient aircraft fleet. Our fleet upgrades have resulted in average fleet age of around 7.8 years. In 2014 we took delivery of the first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which uses 25 percent less fuel compared to the aircraft it replaces.

Fuel efficiency

In addition to investing in more fuel efficient aircraft, Air New Zealand is implementing various initiatives to improve aircraft operational efficiency, and since 2006 has improved efficiency by 22 percent (on a revenue tonnes kilometre basis). This fuel efficiency programme involves various initiatives, including:

  • Reducing aircraft weight through 'just-in-time' refuelling
  • Installing zonal driers that reduce moisture between the cabin and aircraft shell
  • Utilising ground power as an alternative to auxiliary power units, which can save up to 180kg of fuel per hour
  • Enhanced flight planning and demonstration flights - including the world's first test flight to measure impacts of optimum flight conduct – the Aspire 1 flight from Auckland to San Francisco, saved some 11 tonnes of CO2

Air New Zealand flew one of the industry's first biofuel test flights in 2008, using jatropha-derived second generation biofuel, which proved the technical feasibility of alternative fuels. Progress on alternative fuels has been slow globally, however in March 2016, Air New Zealand released an RFI for purchase of biofuels in the Australasian region.

Ground-based emissions

Air New Zealand recognises New Zealand's high proportion of renewable energy and seeks to leverage that on the ground, including:

  • Transitioning over 78 vehicles in the light vehicle fleet to electric options
  • Establishing necessary charging infrastructure at key customer points to help remove barriers to customer uptake of electric vehicles
  • Transitioning airside ground service equipment to electric or hybrid vehicles. By 2020, Air New Zealand aims to have 100 percent of ground service equipment transitioned to electric, where there are options available

Air New Zealand has an extensive waste management programme running across Air New Zealand along with implementation of an ISO14001 management system.

A company-wide Green Team helps to promote environmental sustainability at work and at home - more than 2000 Air New Zealand employees have joined and embraced this initiative.