The two-hour test flight is scheduled to take off from Auckland airport on Tuesday morning 30 December, with the jatropha biofuel blend powering one of the Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400's Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.

The pilot in command of the test flight is Air New Zealand 747 Fleet Manager Captain Keith Pattie. During the flight Captain Pattie and his crew will undertake a number of fuel tests confirming and measuring the performance of the engine and fuel systems at various altitudes and under a variety of operating conditions.

The test flight is a joint initiative between Air New Zealand, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and UOP, with support from Terasol Energy, as part of commercial aviation's drive for more sustainable air travel for future generations.

Air New Zealand's Chief Pilot and General Manager Airline Operations Captain David Morgan, who will also be onboard the flight, says Air New Zealand and its partners have been non-negotiable about the three criteria any environmentally sustainable fuel must meet for the test flight programme. These are social, technical and commercial.

Firstly, the fuel source must be environmentally sustainable and not compete with existing food resources. The criteria for sourcing the jatropha oil required that the land was neither forest land nor virgin grassland within the previous two decades. The quality of the soil and climate is such that the land is not suitable for the vast majority of food crops. Furthermore, the farms are rain-fed and not mechanically irrigated.

Secondly, the fuel must be a drop-in replacement for traditional jet fuel and technically be at least as good as the product used today. Finally, it should be cost competitive with existing fuel supplies and be readily available.


ENDS

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs, phone 09 336 2761

 

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.