Air New Zealand will debut an upgraded version of its Business Premier international business class seat by the end of 2019, ahead of the debut of an all-new business class seat in the early 2020s.
That next-gen seat – currently under development at a secret site dubbed 'Hangar 22' – will replace today's circa-2005 sleeper and crown the pointy end of AirNZ's forthcoming non-stop flights to New York and other far-afield destinations on either the Boeing 777X or Airbus A350 from 2022.
This seat, announced today by the Kiwi carrier, is slated for its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 jets in a rapid rollout due for completion by the end of 2020 in order minimise the 'seat lottery' which can bedevil business travellers during extensive fleet upgrades.
So just how new will the new seat be? Air New Zealand is calling it an 'enhanced' model of the existing Business Premier seat, which was last updated and remodelled in 2011 and also takes pride of place on the Boeing 787s.
In fact, the new face of Business Premier is all about the enhancements, according to AirNZ CEO Christopher Luxon, who tags these improvements as extending beyond the seat to meals and drinks.
“We have undertaken considerable customer research and testing over the past 12 months to come up with enhancements to the existing award-winning seat as well as a new food, beverage and service offering that reflects the essence of who we are as a nation," Luxon says.
In related news, inflight Internet access will now be free on all AirNZ flights, with the Star Alliance member dropping the previous price tags which saw WiFi costed as NZ$30 - NZ$40 for an entire flight, or NZ$9 for a one-hour pass.