Air New Zealand to deliver mail in electric plane

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Air New Zealand is hoping to complete a commercial demonstrator flight with the electric ALIA plane, designed by US company Beta Technologies, by 2026.

Beta Technologies’ ALIA plane has five passenger seats, is 12 metres ling and can fly up to 270 kilometres per hour. It weighs three tonnes and recharging its battery takes between 40 to 60 minutes.

Although the plane has flown than 480 kilometres in test flights, Air New Zealand said it will start off flying routes of around 150 kilometres. These will initially be cargo-only services, with the airline saying it will partner with New Zealand Post to do so.

The eventual aim is to introduce passengers services for the plane. The company says it is aiming to replace its short domestic route services with low-emissions aircraft from 2030.

Air New Zealand has options to buy two more of the ALIA electric planes, with rights reserved on a further 20.

ALIA flight test at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont.

Image: Beta Technologies

Air New Zealand has also been working with other companies, including Eviation, VoltAero and Cranfield Aerospace, to introduce next-generation aircraft.

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