Air New Zealand To Make Widebody Boeing Order

Air New Zealand are reported to be a step closer to making a $2bn order for new aircraft. Sources have told press today that the airline has picked Boeing to replace its eight 777-200ERs, although the exact model of aircraft is yet to be revealed.

Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand have reportedly picked Boeing. Photo: Pxhere

Air New Zealand have made their choice for their widebody requirements. According to Reuters, the carrier has picked Boeing, calling an end a year and a half long battle between them and the European manufacturer Airbus.

Both manufacturers were in the game to pitch their best aircraft to the airline. Sam Chui reported back in February that the A350 and 787 were both on the table, as well as potentially the new 777X.

The deal itself could have been worth as much as $2bn at list prices. However, discounts surely came into play, as they often do. The deal itself would have undoubtedly been as much about how much money off they could secure as how good the actual aircraft are.

Boeing versus Airbus

The Auckland based carrier has been looking for a replacement for eight 777-200ERs they have in their fleet. Although they are keen to make a decision on the order soon, they’re not in a rush to receive the planes as the 777-200s are only 12.1 years old on average.

ANZ 777-200
Air New Zealand are looking to replace eight 777-200s by 2022. Photo: Wikimedia

In the past, their aircraft have been well spread between Boeing and Airbus, with Airbus largely taking care of the short haul fleet, and Boeing chosen for long haul operations. As such, both manufacturers were under consideration, both with pros and cons coming with them.

Right now, their fleet consists of 34 A320s, five of which are neos, 18 Boeing 777s, ten of which are -200s and eight -300s, as well as 13 787-9 Dreamliners. In the pipeline, they have orders outstanding for one 787-9 as well as six A320neos and 11 A321neos.

ANZ have never operated an Airbus long haul, so the obvious choice would be Boeing. However, the ongoing woes with the 787-9 Trent 1000 engines has left the carrier in a difficult position in recent years, needing to cover lost capacity in their network while the aircraft were repaired. This could have soured the relationship and influenced their decision. But it seems it didn’t.

Their decision to go for Boeing’s offering doesn’t come as a big surprise, seeing as how they’ve relied on the American made planes for long haul operations in the past. It’s possible that the new A350 could have turned their head, and we’re sure Airbus would have done everything they could to convince them, but in the end, Boeing won out.

What will they order?

That’s the part we don’t know yet. While it seems inevitable that Air New Zealand will order from Boeing, reports suggest that they were considering both the 787 and the 777X as potential new additions to their fleet.

As previously mentioned, the airline already operates a number of 787-9s, so if they were to go with the Dreamliner, it would probably be the same model again. Although the 787-10 offers larger capacity, it does so at the detriment of range, and Air New Zealand need all the range they can get.

ANZ 787
Air New Zealand already operate a number of 787-9s. Photo: Wikimedia

However, as long standing operators of the 777, it could be that they’re going for the new, more fuel efficient version that we know as the 777X. With no hurry to have the aircraft delivered, they could be happy to wait for this new and exciting aircraft to become available.

According to One Mile At A Time, Air New Zealand have been talking about flying nonstop to Sao Paulo as well as to New York. While the 787-9 could comfortably take care of Sao Paulo, it would be at the limits of its range operating to New York. The 777X, however, should be able to handle this comfortably.

The forthcoming 777X could fit the bill. Photo: Boeing

What do you think? Will Air New Zealand play it safe and add more 787-9s to their fleet, or will they take the plunge and pick the larger 777X for future long haul routes?