Air New Zealand has locked in its Boeing 787-10 order, becoming the second airline in the world following United to operate the most significant Dreamliner variant in the South Pacific area.
What are the details of the order?
Air New Zealand confirmed its large Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner order this week, locking in the airline for delivery of eight of the aircraft with an option for another 20. The deliveries will take place from 2022 to 2027 (roughly just over one a year). Air New Zealand already operates 14 787-9s.
Boeing won this order in a vicious bidding war against long-time rival Airbus, with an estimated $2.7 billion on the line against the alternative A350. Air New Zealand eventually went with the Boeing aircraft back in May at the Paris Air Show.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon is quoted in a Boeing press release as saying,
“This is a hugely important decision for our airline. With the 787-10 offering around 15 percent more space for both customers and cargo than the 787-9, this investment creates the platform for our future strategic direction and opens up new opportunities to grow. The 787-10 is longer and even more fuel-efficient. However, the game-changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet.”
The Boeing 787-10 is the most significant variant of the Dreamliner aircraft and comes with some special stats. The aircraft can carry 330 passengers in the normal two-class configuration (32 business class passengers and 298 economy class passengers) but can be expanded to over 400 seats if required.
Unlike the smaller Boeing 787-9 and 787-8, the 787-10 has a diminished range of only 6,430 nmi (11,910 km), just under 1,000 nautical miles less than the smaller planes. However, it seems that Air New Zealand has a special focus in mind for this variant and is more concerned with capacity over the range.
We should also mention that the airline decided to dump the Rolls Royce engines it has been using in its 787-9s and go with the GE Aviation’s GEnx-1B engine series instead. Whether or not this is related to engine issues currently plaguing the 787 Rolls Royce series remains to be seen.
Where will these new aircraft be deployed?
Air New Zealand’s order is actually to replace the aging 777-200ER fleet that it uses to link the countries of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. If you actually look at the stats, the 787-10 carries a few more passengers (around 20) than the 777-200ER and has a range only a few hundred nautical miles less.
“With the 777 and now the 787-9 and 787-10, Air New Zealand will have an incredible widebody family to serve its passengers and grow its international network in the years ahead,” Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing said in a statement to Routers.
There has even been some speculation that the airline will use the aircraft to open routes all the way to New York.
What will the Air New Zealand experience be like?
It is hard to say what the onboard experience will be like on the 787-10 at this stage as the aircraft delivery is so far away. Likely, it will have the same configuration as their 787-9 fleet (although longer), but we could see them investigate a new premium cabin, as they still use the older Virgin Atlantic Upper-Class model.
As we have mentioned, the next big choice for Air New Zealand is to choose between the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X for their Boeing 777-300ER replacement.
What do you think about this order? Let us know in the comments.