Air New Zealand will fly its Boeing 787-9 to Shanghai and Tokyo as "key long haul destinations" for the new Dreamliner fleet, with secondary destinations including Perth, Honolulu and Papeete.
The Kiwi flag-carrier is the Boeing's launch customer for the 787-9, is a stretched version of the original 787-8 Dreamliner which can carry an estimated 40 more passengers than the base model 787-8 while also boasting greater range.
The airline expects to take delivery of the first 787-9 around the middle of next year, with two more to follow around September.
Air New Zealand has also revealed the seating configuration for its fleet of 10 Dreamliners.
“Given our 787-9’s will be multiple purpose aircraft – operating both long and mid-haul sectors – we’ve put a lot of research effort into coming up with four distinct seating selections that meet the customer expectations across the markets it will serve" said Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon.
Premium economy as 'Business-lite'
As expected, the pointy end will feature the airline's Business Premier seat which converts to a lie-flat bed fitted with a 'memory foam' mattress, duvet and two full size pillows.
However, the airline has chosen not to fit its award-winning premium economy Spaceseat to the 787-9, opting instead for what it calls "a customised seat best described as Business-lite."
Sourced from US seat designer Zodiac, the luxury leather seat will have a 41” pitch, a 5” wide armrest plus a leg rest and extendable foot support.
The first 16 rows of the economy cabin will feature Air New Zealand’s Skycouch seats – a row of three seats where the legrest and armrests flips all the way up to converts the triple into a 'sofa-like' flat surface.
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.
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