November 4 2023  |  Aviation Trends

Air New Zealand lounges embrace sustainability initiative

By Robynne Trueman

Air New Zealand lounge

In a move to embrace sustainability, Air New Zealand has begun removing single-use cups from its lounges. In a November 1 press release, Air New Zealand's Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin said the airline is aware that it has a greater problem to solve in moving away from fossil fuel.

"This remains our greatest challenge and priority, and we have a significant program of work underway,” said Hannifin. “But as the airline navigates the multiple challenges to find a more sustainable fuel replacement or a lower emissions aircraft, we must double down on the sustainability initiatives we can action now.”

“Nearly one million single-use cups are used for hot drinks across lounges each year and another nine million in our aircraft. These cups are commercially compostable, but there is limited composting infrastructure in New Zealand that can take them, so most are ending up in landfill[s].”

The new initiative to remove single-use plastic cups from lounges will see travellers using ceramic mugs to enjoy their hot drinks or bringing their own reusable cups.

Continued Hannifin, "At Air New Zealand we have set some very ambitious sustainability goals, including net zero carbon emissions by 2050. These will require significant changes to our fleet and operations to transition away from fossil fuel as much as we can."

Hannifin added that besides big initiatives like this, the airline is striving to reduce its carbon footprint in smaller ways, like introducing sustainable alternatives in its lounges.

"We know that having a hot drink from our lounges, especially before an early flight, is something many of our customers enjoy,” she said. “Rest assured our customers will still be able to get their coffee fix with us using one of our ceramic cups or their own reusable cup."

Invercargill will be the first to roll out these changes in November with all New Zealand lounges (except Christchurch Regional Express) to join suit by the end of January.

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