Air New Zealand eyes Alice electric plane for regional travel
The world of electric aviation is full of possibility, but one area where these next-gen aircraft could have a near-term impact is in regional travel. Covering short distances with zero emissions is the modus operandi for fledgling startups like Eviation, whose all-electric Alice plane has caught the eye of Air New Zealand as the carrier works to reduce its carbon footprint.
Israeli’s Eviation first revealed its all-electric Alice plane at the Paris Air Show in 2019, and then in September of this year finally took it to the skies on its maiden flight. The quiet nine-seat aircraft runs on two props and covers around 288 miles (463 km) on each charge, traveling at speeds of up to 299 mph (481 km/h) along the way.
These capabilities slot in nicely with the vision outlined in Air New Zealand’s Mission NextGen Aircraft program, aimed at ushering in the era of zero emission aircraft. This involves efforts to swap out its conventional domestic fleet with sustainable aircraft running on green hydrogen and battery hybrid systems.
“Regional flights make up a sizable proportion of Air New Zealand’s routes,” said Gregory Davis, President and CEO of Eviation. “The Alice offers an effective way to decarbonize these journeys, revolutionizing air travel and supporting the goals of the Mission NextGen Aircraft program.”
Air New Zealand has signed a Letter of Intent for up to 23 Alice Aircraft under the Mission NextGen Aircraft Program. The move makes it the first national flag carrier to commit to Eviation’s Alice aircraft, with the first demonstration flights slated for 2026.
"Mission NextGen Aircraft represents a significant commitment to the development of sustainable aircraft and the supporting infrastructure needed to decarbonize our domestic flights," said Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand. "Eviation's all-electric Alice aircraft is a natural fit for the program with its proven technology that is optimized for short-range flights."