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Biofuel the future for Air NZ? Airline announces radical new plan

Air New Zealand has signalled a major shift in thinking, putting out the call for local biofuel producers to help reduce its environmental impact.

One of the country's largest carbon emitters has teamed up with Virgin Australia to issue an official Request for Information to the market for aviation biofuel.

Air New Zealand chief flight operations and safety officer Captain David Morgan says it is a key initiative under its carbon management programme.

"We hope we can stimulate the local market, drive innovation and investment and potentially uncover a sustainable biofuel supply," Morgan says.

Virgin Australia head of sustainability Robert Wood says Australasian airlines need to catch up with international competitors. 

"We are seeing the development of the aviation biofuel industry accelerate internationally but that is not yet the case for our region," Wood says.

The bids close at the end of May.

Airbus A321neo in Air New Zealand livery Source: Supplied: Air New Zealand