Next stage of pick up and drop off upgrade set to commence

16 November 2021

Palmerston North Airport has welcomed the future of sustainable air travel with the first electric plane in New Zealand touching down last week.

Christchurch-owned ElectricAir has spent a week in Palmerston North to provide an opportunity for the airport and its partners to see what the future of electric travel might look like.

Welcoming the Pipistrel Alpha Electro is timely as Palmerston North Airport continues to look at ways to further invest in the sustainability of its airport’s infrastructure.

David Lanham, Chief Executive of Palmerston North Airport, said the visit by ElectricAir provides a glimpse into what the future of zero emission air travel might look like.

“Electric aircraft once viable have the potential to disrupt to some extent hub and spoke flying in New Zealand and globally”. Lanham says while its still early days, depending on their economics electric commuter aircraft have the potential to make routes with a shorter flying time and with lower demand viable. In turn this has implications on airports such as Palmerston North in terms of passenger volumes, routes, and infrastructure planning including aircraft parking stands and charging facilities.

The battery electric two-seat light aircraft was brought to New Zealand by ElectricAir Founder Gary Freedman. The interchangeable battery units power an electric motor which directly drives the tri-bladed propeller. There is no fuel, oil, spark plugs or exhaust pipe. It is designed as a training aircraft and is available for people wanting to experience electric flight and learn to fly in a more sustainable way.

Palmerston North Airport has completed Level 2 of the Airport Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme and highlights the airport’s ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”