April 5 2024  |  Food & Beverage

Air New Zealand trials reusable cups inflight

By PAX International Magazine Staff

Air New Zealand's inflight beverage services continues with reusable cups 

Air New Zealand announced that it trialled the removal of single-use cups on six domestic flights last week, to explore the delivery of hot beverages at 30,000 feet, without waste.

The airline recently removed all single-use cups from its New Zealand lounges, but Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer, Kiri Hannifin, said doing this inflight poses a greater challenge.

"Removing nearly one million single-use cups each year from Air New Zealand lounges was a great start, and we've had a really positive response from customers who understand why this was an important move. But we've got a further nine million single-use hot beverage cups being used each year on our aircraft, plus millions more plastic water cups,” explained Hannifin. "Removing waste in an aviation environment comes with its challenges. Infrastructure to support waste reduction can vary from airport to airport, country to country and the need to operate flights on schedule is paramount."

Air New Zealand is in the process of setting new waste targets as it works towards a more circular economy.

"Designing and procuring with a circular mindset right at the outset avoids waste in the first place and is the optimal starting point. We are excited to see how we can make inroads onboard our aircraft," said Hannifin. "While the airline is very focused on how it can decarbonise, avoiding waste is something it can do right now.”

She added: "Reducing carbon emissions from flying is our greatest challenge, and we are under no illusion about how critical it is to transition away from our reliance on fossil fuel. However, much of decarbonizing aviation is reliant on new technologies, policy support, and sustainable aviation fuel becoming more available. That's why we're also looking at things that impact our natural environment such as waste, which is much more within our control."

The trial period took place across two days on Air New Zealand's domestic network. The data gained from customer feedback, operational logistics and impact will help to determine the viability of implementing the initiative in the long term, the press release said.

During the trial, passengers were still able to experience Air New Zealand’s inflight beverage service, with the airline encouraging travellers to bring a reusable cup or providing one for them.

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