Air New Zealand buys first all-electric aircraft from Beta Technologies

Air New Zealand / Beta Technologies

Air New Zealand announced on December 6, 2023, that it had selected Beta Technologies’ all-electric ALIA aircraft as its next-generation aircraft. 

The Kiwi airline is placing a firm order for one unit of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) version of the Beta Technologies clean sheet ALIA (the startup is working in parallel on an eVTOL version of the ALIA) plus options for two more and rights to 20 additional aircraft. 

The battery-powered aircraft is expected to enter service in 2026 (provided it receives the approval of the New Zealand Aviation Authority) and will be deployed initially on cargo routes only, in cooperation with NZ Post. 

The first two airports to see ALIA service will be announced in early 2024 out of all the airports that have presented expressions of interest (EOI) to participate in the rollout of the new aircraft. 

The decision to select the ALIA is the first result of an initiative, the Mission Next Gen Aircraft program, that started 18 months ago and evaluated over 30 different proposals from manufacturers and startups from around the world. These were then narrowed down to four electric or hybrid-electric concepts: Eviation, from the US, VoltAero from France, and Cranfield Aerospace, from the UK, in addition to Beta Technologies’ ALIA. 

Air New Zealand is looking to operate routes of around 150 kilometers (90 miles) with the ALIA, flying at altitudes of between 1,500 to 3,000 meters (5,000 to 9,800 feet). The ALIA is expected to achieve speeds of up to 270 kilometers (170 miles) per hour when flying those missions, with an estimated battery recharge time of between 40 and 60 minutes between flights. 

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