Virgin, Air New Zealand Announce Biofuel Boost

Posted Mark Sutton Industry News

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand’s announcement this week that they are in the market for local jet biofuel is a big boost for the industry.

While the market is in its infancy here in Australia, internationally big steps have already been taken.

What was required was an airline, or in this case two airlines, willing to put an invitation to the market that has enough scale to attract investment. And that’s what the Virgin and Air New Zealand project does.

Virgin Head of Sustainability Robert Wood is hoping that the joint project will deliver enough supply should producers be able to manufacture and sell biofuel at competitive prices.

Aviation biofuel requires a different manufacturing process to existing biofuels, ethanol, known as E10 and extensively available in NSW and Queensland and biodiesel which is also blended with diesel.

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

Virgin and Air New Zealand have shown the way with this bold announcement.

It follows new international aviation rules which mandate a 10 per cent quota of alternative fuel use by 2017.

There is already strong interest from the market following the announcement of the Request for Information which closes on May 30.