Air New Zealand announces BETA's ALIA as launch aircraft for Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme

Aviation Environmental Climate solutions Technology Operations Infrastructure
  • Air New Zealand selects BETA's ALIA CTOL as its first next generation aircraft
  • The electric aircraft has been purchased to meet the airline's goal of flying a commercial demonstrator by 2026
  • NZ Post announced as cargo partner for commercial demonstrator
  • Announcement in early 2024 revealing the two frontrunner airports to be home to next generation aircraft

Air New Zealand has today announced the ALIA as the airline's first purchase of a next generation aircraft in its Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme.

Designed by electric aerospace company BETA Technologies, the battery-powered all-electric aircraft is expected to join Air New Zealand's fleet in 2026. Air New Zealand is purchasing the conventional take-off and landing version of the ALIA.

The announcement follows an 18-month period of evaluation and diligence by Air New Zealand. Through the airline's Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme, it sought and received ideas and insights from 30 organisations, selecting four partners to work closely with on its goal of launching commercial flights using next generation aircraft in 2026. BETA's ALIA is the first commercial order in the programme. 

Air New Zealand will initially operate the aircraft as a cargo only service in partnership with New Zealand Post, on a route being selected through an expressions of interest (EOI) process with airports across Aotearoa.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the purchase cements Air New Zealand's commitment to flying lower-emissions aircraft in New Zealand.

"This is a small but important step in a much larger journey for Air New Zealand. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are incredibly committed, and this purchase marks a new chapter for the airline."

"Decarbonising aviation isn't easy, and we have a lot of work to do. We need to accelerate the pace of change in the technology, infrastructure, operations and regulation."

"While this aircraft will add to, not replace our existing fleet, it is a catalyst for that change. By flying the ALIA, we hope to advance our knowledge and the transformation needed in the aviation system in Aotearoa for us to fly larger, fleet replacing, next generation aircraft from 2030."

BETA Chief Executive Officer Kyle Clark says he applauds Air New Zealand's approach to decarbonising aviation.

"Air New Zealand is hyper focused on bringing technologies to scale as quickly as possible, both to meet its own ambitions to decarbonise and to change the broader aviation landscape."

"Over the past year plus of partnership, collaboration, and diligence, we've seen Air New Zealand's forward-thinking, yet pragmatic and methodical approach to innovation."

Note to editors:

  • Air New Zealand will fly the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) version of the ALIA.
  • Air New Zealand has a firm order for one aircraft with options for an additional two aircraft, and rights for a further 20 aircraft.
  • The ALIA has flown over 480kms in one flight in testing. For Air New Zealand's initial flights, it is looking at routes of around 150kms in length.
  • Given the shorter length of the flights Air New Zealand intends to operate, it will likely fly the ALIA at a lower altitude of between 1500 to 3000 metres.
  • The ALIA weighs three tonnes, is just over 12 metres long, and will fly at a speed of up to 270kms an hour.
  • A full charge of the battery is anticipated to take between 40-60 minutes.
  • Aviation has a rigorous safety and risk management culture. The aircraft will only be brought into service once it has passed testing and is certified as safe to fly by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.  

"We are gratified by the airline's confidence in our technology as a solution that will meet their operational needs and look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand as we bring the ALIA to market for 2026."