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Boeing 787-9 arrives in Auckland, Air New Zealand showcases new jet

By David Flynn     Filed under: Air New Zealand, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Air New Zealand's first Boeing 787-9 arrived in Auckland on Saturday night, as the advanced passenger jet undergoes extensive testing ahead of its mid-year debut.

Photos: Inside Boeing's 787-9 test aircraft

It's the second in a series of three 787-9s dedicated to the test program, but once those trials are over it will be upgraded to Air New Zealand's specifications, painted in the Kiwi Carrier's eye-catching livery and make a second journey from Seattle to Auckland – this time, to stay.

Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting” said Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon.

“It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

Air New Zealand has ordered ten of the Boeing 787-9s, which is a stretched version of Boeing’s original 787-8 Dreamliner capable of carrying more passengers over longer distances.

The Kiwi carrier’s first 787-9 will make its debut on October 15th flying between Auckland and Perth and will be shared with partner Virgin Australia.

Boeing 787-9 flights between Auckland and Shanghai, as well as Auckland-Tokyo and Christchurch-Tokyo, will follow in 2014.

Read: Air New Zealand gears up for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s debut

Inside Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Each of Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9s will see a three-class configuration of 18 seats in business class, 21 in premium economy and 263 in economy.

We've put together this quick video clip to showcase the seats.

The pointy end of Air NZ's Boeing 787-9 will see 18 of the familiar Business Premier seats already seen on the airline's flagship Boeing 777s.

The lie-flat business class seats are arranged in a 1-1-1 herringbone layout so that every passenger has direct aisle access.

The seat is fitted with a 'memory foam' mattress, duvet and two full size pillows.

Less familiar are the Premium Economy seats, with Air NZ choosing a more standard 'off the shelf' design instead of its Spaceseat (show below).

AirNZ's Spaceseat has been dropped from the Boeing 787

The 787-9's premium economy seats have been sourced from US seat designer Zodiac, with Air New Zealand calling them "a customised seat best described as Business-lite."

Arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, the seats have a 41” pitch and 5” wide armrest, with a generous 9" recline, integrated leg rest and extendable foot support.

There are 21 premium economy seats in this stand-alone cabin, which also has its own dedicated bathroom facilities.

Read: Air New Zealand “remains committed” to premium economy Spaceseat

The bulk of Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 is given over to two economy cabins with all seating in a 3-3-3 layout.

This includes 14 Skycouch rows of three seats where the legrests and armrests flip all the way up to convert into a 'sofa-like' flat surface.

The Skycouch rows have a 33" pitch compared to the 31-32" of standard economy seats.

Read: Testing Air New Zealand's Skycouch on the 777-300ER

The rest of the economy cabin will be fitted with a standard economy seat from Zodiac but customised to Air New Zealand's specifications including a slimline seat back for more space, sculpted upholstering and a more flexible headrest.

Also read: Qantas sets its sights on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Australian Business Traveller is visiting Auckland and will tour the Boeing 787-9 as a guest of Boeing.

Get the latest updates for business traveller and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 5/1/14 by Alvin

Perfect aircraft for a near-perfect airline with a close-to-perfect config.

1 on 5/1/14 by Michael

While I mostly agree with what you have to say, I can't help but point out Air New Zealands continous use of high density layouts in it's 777 and now 787 jets. 

As someone who rarely gets to fly business class this makes all the difference for me, and really puts Air NZ on my list of airlines to avoid.


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