Air New Zealand has signed a deal with Zephyr Airworks to bring autonomous electric air taxi services to New Zealand.

Zephyr currently operates Cora, an autonomous electric aircraft, in New Zealand. It was developed by Zephyr’s parent company Kitty Hawk with the aim of easing traffic congestion on roads and offering a cleaner energy solution for air travel.

Unveiled around six months ago, Cora has so far completed 700 flight tests worldwide.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said: “Zephyr Airworks is leading the way in re-defining personal mobility to make it easier for all of us to get around. Zephyr Airworks’ innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand.

“Both companies see the potential for our airspace to free people from the constraints of traffic and its associated social, economic and environmental impacts.

“Through the development of their autonomous electric air taxi Cora, the possibility of getting from A to B quickly and safely, and also relieving the impact of polluting emissions, is very real indeed.”

“Through the development of their autonomous electric air taxi Cora, the possibility of getting from A to B quickly and safely, and also relieving the impact of polluting emissions, is very real indeed.”

According to Luxon, the  agreement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership with Zephyr.

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Zephyr Airworks chief executive Fred Reid said: “With our aircraft Cora, we are building on eight years of research, development and leading 21st century technology.

“We are applying everything that revolutionised the world of communications to transport, we are showing people what is possible.

“There is also the long-term economic and environmental advantages that will benefit future generations.”

Zephyr is also working with regulatory agencies, the New Zealand government, wider community and other parties to make everyday flight a reality nationwide and worldwide.