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Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand to seek to fly on biofuel

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will seeking to reduce emissions from their jet fuel by moving towards locally-produced biofuel.

The two aviation companies have teamed up to issue to the market an official Request for Information on aviation biofuels, to reduce carbon emissions, and to boost fuel security.

Air New Zealand chief flight operations and safety officer Captain David Morgan says it is a key initiative under its carbon management programme.

“We hope we can stimulate the local market, drive innovation and investment and potentially uncover a sustainable biofuel supply,” said Morgan.

Virgin Australia’s head of sustainability, Robert Wood, said Australasian airlines need to catch up with international competitors. United made significant investment in biofuel as the first-mover, with flights in 2017 expected to utilise the fuel.

“We are seeing the development of the aviation biofuel industry accelerate internationally but that is not yet the case for our region,” said Wood.

A 747 taking off uses about as much fuel as an average family car for a year, and wider than this, aviation is estimated to contribute just over 2 per cent of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants, with additional problems from the emissions at altitude.

There have been a number of test flights flying on fuels as diverse as used cooking oil, to coconut oil, but due to costs, haven’t been pursued.

At any one time, there are around 7,000 aircraft in the sky at any one point in time, significantly more while the USA is awake. FlightRadar24 shows the live number of planes, although it doesn’t track every last aircraft including smaller planes.

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Tristan has a passion for tech, digital life, sport, and being told he looks better in person.

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