Air New Zealand is expected to announce a multi-billion-dollar order for a number of Boeing 787 Dreamliners this coming Monday, May 27th.
The New Zealand carrier and Star Alliance member CEO Chris Luxon is likely to make the upcoming announcement, according to Australian Business Traveller.
Air New Zealand is choosing Boeing over Airbus
Reports indicate Air New Zealand has chosen between the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, favoring Boeing. The carrier’s long-distance fleet is currently all-Boeing, and it was the first airline to operate the Boeing 787-9. Australian Business Traveller believes Air New Zealand has also chosen the 787 Dreamliner over the newer Boeing 777X.
The new Dreamliners are expected to replace eight soon-to-be aging Boeing 777-200s in Air New Zealand’s fleet, and potentially to fly new routes for the carrier. New routes could include a direct Auckland to New York flight. The planes may also have more premium seating than standard 787-9s and a lower number of overall seats, increasing the flight range for the aircraft.
On May 20th, we reported that Air New Zealand had picked Boeing for its new planes and could soon make a $2 billion order. According to Reuters reporting, Air New Zealand may have been choosing between Boeing and Airbus for as long as 18 months. The carrier’s chief financial officer Jeff McDowall told the New Zealand Herald last week:
“They are both fantastic aircraft, both produce a fantastic customer experience compared to the existing aircraft but also a lower cost and lower carbon emissions.”
Air New Zealand already has 13 787-9 Dreamliners in its fleet with another on order, as well as 18 Boeing 777s and 34 Airbus A320s. It also has six A320neos and 11 A321neos on order.
Planning for the future
Despite the impending announcement, the new planes are not anticipated to join Air New Zealand’s fleet until 2023. This, as per One Mile At a Time and the carrier’s comments in the past. The outlet also reports that a New Zealand to Sao Paulo route could be an option for Air New Zealand in the future and speculates that Newark could be a logical addition for the carrier.
It’s not just Air New Zealand that is looking to the future. Auckland Airport is also expanding, with eight different upgrade projects on the go, to cope with larger planes and growing passenger numbers. The airports latest upgrades could begin as soon as 2021 and include new plane stands, taxiways, terminal improvements, and a new runway and domestic terminal. Auckland Airport general manager for airport development and delivery André Lovatt told International Airport Review:
“This is the beginning of a series of truly transformational projects at Auckland Airport. The complete development programme of work we are embarking on will yield some really great benefits and enable us to accommodate the 40 million passengers and 260,000 flights that are expected by 2044.”