Environment & Engineering

Paihau— Robinson Research Institute announced as partner for Air New Zealand’s Mission Next Gen Aircraft

Published Feb 8, 2023

Air New Zealand has teamed up with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Paihau—Robinson Research Institute to help the airline on its mission to replace Q300 domestic fleet with a more sustainable option from 2030.

Paihau—Robinson Research Institute joins Airbus, ATR, Universal Hydrogen, Embraer, and Heart Aerospace as long-term partners announced by Air New Zealand this week.

The partners will work with Air New Zealand to accelerate the development and introduction of zero emissions aircraft technology in New Zealand. Paihau—Robinson Research Institute will evaluate and validate aircraft propulsion technology as concepts develop and mature.

“Air New Zealand will work with Paihau—Robinson Research Institute to ensure new aircraft technology can be integrated into New Zealand’s future air transport system,” Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin says.

The Paihau—Robinson Research Institute is a world-leader in developing power electronics and superconducting machines and is currently working on their application to the aviation industry.

Paihau—Robinson Research Institute Deputy Director, Professor Rod Badcock, says the Institute is perfectly placed to support Air New Zealand on its mission to decarbonise.

“We are at the bleeding edge of understanding what it takes to make large electric aircraft a sustainable reality, so we can provide that expert advice that will help Air New Zealand make the right technical decisions along its path to zero emissions,” Professor Badcock says.

Working closely with Wellington UniVentures, Paihau—Robinson has a long-standing tradition of partnering with industry to solve real-world problems.

Wellington UniVentures Partnerships Manager, Dr Grant Lumsden, welcomes Air New Zealand’s commitment to continuing its close relationship with Wellington UniVentures and the Institute.

“Our role is to ensure the technology and expertise coming out of Paihau—Robinson are having the best and biggest possible impact on society. Facilitating partnerships with big industry players on projects of national significance, like Air New Zealand’s path to zero emissions, is a great example of that,” says Dr Lumsden.

The partnership is part of a three-way Memorandum of Understanding between Wellington UniVentures, Air New Zealand, and Paihau— Robinson Research Insititute, established in 2021.