WELLINGTON - The flag carrier airline of New Zealand has said it aims to become the first airline to fly an electric plane, setting aviation goals for its competitors.
The airline stated on Wednesday that it has ordered an electric ALIA aircraft from US-based aerospace manufacturer Beta Technologies and the aerial machine is expected to join the fleet initially as a cargo-only service flying packages and letters on domestic routes.
“We’re aiming to be the first airline to fly a next-generation aircraft commercially,” Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin was quoted as saying by AFP.
The official clarified that New Zealand’s national carrier can't give any timeline regarding the start of passenger flights through battery-powered planes.
Air New Zealand said in a statement that the battery-powered ALIA can be fully recharged in around an hour. and will land and take off like ordinary aircraft.
Roughly 12 metres long and weighing three tonnes, the ALIA has covered distances of 480 kilometres (298 miles) in a single test flight, the airline said.
As for Electric cars, the key to success in electric planes is the distance the plane can cover and for ALIA, the top speed is 270 kilometres an hour; the speed of conventional aircraft ranges above 800 km/ hour normally.
If the airline gets certification to operate flights, the electric plane will be used for routes of around 150 kilometres. As of now, the airline has placed an order for one electric plane with the right to buy up to nearly two dozen more.
The airline's Chief executive Greg Foran said the purchase is part of the airline’s commitment to flying aircraft in New Zealand with lower emissions.
“Next-generation aircraft has the potential to decarbonise our regional operations,” Foran told reporters in Auckland.
“This purchase marks a new chapter for the airline,” the official highlighted.
The ambition to switch to electric planes is not new as the flag carrier of Denmark, Scandinavian Airlines (aka SAS) announced plans last May to take customers along on its first commercial electric flights in 2028.
The biggest challenge to the airlines could be getting licenses for operation as well as permission by airports to operate flights and initially, the carriers would be facing resistance.
Pakistani currency remained largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 20, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.05 for buying and 282.1 for selling.
On Tuesday, Euro stands at 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.4 for buying, and 355.4 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.55 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.2.
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