Fri, Feb 2, 2024 9:42 AM
Airport staff are working with Air New Zealand to trial battery powered planes on the Blenheim-Wellington route.
The route is on a shortlist with Auckland/Hamilton to trial next-generation planes.
If the proposal is accepted, an electric plane could be flying freight to Wellington as early as 2026.
The move comes as part of a wider bid by Marlborough Airport to explore greener options for the future.
Future sustainability is key, says Marlborough Airport Operations and Safety Manager Steve Holtum.
“We’re looking at the airport through a lens of future sustainability, including its financial and environmental future – we already have some multi-year initiatives underway.”
One of the most visible projects was the planting of more than 4290 natives on a soil embankment surrounding the new car park.
It was designed especially so contaminated soil, an environmental issue throughout the Woodbourne site, didn’t have to be taken off-site for disposal.
A reduction in road noise and beautification were an added benefit.
Steve says money made from the car park could help boost future environmental projects.
“The revenue from the car park will help us with financial sustainability, but we’ll also have more potential funding for green projects in the future.”
The airport is also exploring green options for the next runway reseal, which is due out for tender this year.
Steve says one of the challenges for Marlborough is limited green infrastructure solutions.
Other green initiatives include the monitoring of airport waste and greenhouse gas emissions at the airport, where the biggest source is fuel.
“Options are available in other regions, such as using recycled asphalt or asphalt mixes requiring lower temperatures, therefore reducing emissions,” Steve says.
“But these solutions are taking time to reach Marlborough.
“This year we’re spending time understanding our biggest opportunities to make meaningful change.
“We’ve been talking with other airports to understand what types of initiatives we can undertake for environmental sustainability.”
Ongoing smaller initiatives include switching out apron light bulbs with LED lights (the big light towers) and formalising a more comprehensive sustainability strategy this year to embed into operations.
“Solar farming is also a possibility but the challenge for our airport is we only employ four full time operations staff, so we can’t do everything at once,” Steve says.
The public can help by providing their views on the airport’s sustainability journey by completing a short survey, at https://links.marlborough.govt.nz/airportsustainability
The survey closes on 13 February.