Air New Zealand to buy up to 20 long-range Boeing 787-10 jets

Air New Zealand to buy up to 20 long-range Boeing 787-10 jets

UPDATE [MAY 27, 2019] | Air New Zealand will buy as many as twenty extended-range Boeing 787 Dreamliners as the Kiwi carrier maps out its next-generation fleet and eyes non-stop flights from Auckland to New York.

The first of the initial eight Boeing 787-10s will join the Air New Zealand fleet in late 2022, "with the remainder delivered at intervals through to 2027," the airline confirmed this morning, with an option to add as many as 12 more 787-10s to its fleet

The factory-fresh Dreamliners will allow AirNZ to retire eight older Boeing 777-200s, which will be phased out by 2025.

Air New Zealand and Boeing have worked on extending the Boeing 787-10's range to approach that of the long-legged Boeing 777-200s.

"The game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet," observed Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon.

“This is a hugely important decision for our airline. With the 787-10 offering almost 15 percent more space for customers and cargo than the 787-9, this investment creates the platform for our future strategic direction and opens up new opportunities to grow."

PREVIOUS | Air New Zealand is expected to buy new extended-range Boeing 787 Dreamliners as the Kiwi carrier maps out its next-generation fleet and eyes non-stop flights from Auckland to New York.

Australian Business Traveller understands that Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon will announce the multi-billion dollar order on Monday May 27.

The Dreamliners will replace eight older Boeing 777-200s as well as carve out new routes, which could include a direct Auckland-New York marathon.

The Airbus A350 was also a contender, although Air New Zealand’s long-range fleet is an all-Boeing affair and the Star Alliance member was notably the first airline to fly the Boeing 787-9, so the decision to sign on Boeing’s dotted line will hold little surprise.

It’s believed that Air New Zealand shied way from the advanced Boeing 777X – which has yet to make its first test flight, ahead of deliveries from 2020 – in favour of an improved version of the Dreamliner, which the airline has flown since 2014.

Approached by Australian Business Traveller, a spokesman for Boeing declined to comment. Air New Zealand did not respond to a request for comment.

Longer flights, fewer seats?

The new NZ Dreamliners are said to have been tweaked by Boeing to further boost their range.

There is also speculation they may have a more ‘premium-heavy’ seating layout than the current Boeing 787-9s, with a skew towards business class and premium economy.

This could reduce the overall passenger count (while retaining the higher-priced seats) in order to eke out extra range, similar to what Qantas has done with its Boeing 787-9 which flies non-stop between Perth and London. 

Air New Zealand’s new Boeing 787 business class seat

The long-legged Dreamliners will continue to eschew first class in favour of an all-new business class seat being developed at a secure workshop dubbed ‘Hangar 22’, located near the airline’s Auckland headquarters.

The new Business Premier seat, along with fresh takes on premium economy and economy, has been tested by groups of AirNZ passengers, including many who regular fly the airline’s longest routes.

Although all participants were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, one traveller – who holds Elite status in airline’s Airpoints loyalty scheme and flies to the US on a monthly basis – has praised the seat.

“This is the seat I’ve been waiting for,” he told Australian Business Traveller, speaking under the condition of anonymity due to his ‘high-value passenger’ status with the airliner.

“It’s a catch-up to the top rung of international airlines. There’s more space and more privacy, and are few small but clever touches done in an NZ way.”

“Not everybody’s going to love everything about it, but I think most business travellers will see this as NZ stepping from the 2000s into the 2020s.”

Air New Zealand is also planning to roll out an upgrade to the business class seat aboard its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 jets, with the ‘enhanced’ seats being refreshed from late 2019 through to the end of 2020.

CEO Luxon has described the refresh’s scope as involving “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.”

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.
 

24 comments

  • Lps988

    Lps988

    24 May, 2019 02:04 pm

    Any word on what engines they went with?

    Would have to think they'd be avoiding the RR Trent given all the headaches its been causing them.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    24 May, 2019 02:11 pm

    No, but then we don't cover engines as Australian Business Traveller isn't an aviation website.

    Member who gave thanks

    Kiwirailengr

  • Jedinak K

    Jedinak K

    27 May, 2019 08:26 am

    Airline Ratings mentioned that they have selected GE for the engines.
    No member give thanks

  • kabe100

    kabe100

    24 May, 2019 02:17 pm

    "The new NZ Dreamliners are said to have been tweaked by Boeing to further boost their range.

    There is also speculation they may have a more ‘premium-heavy’ seating layout than the current Boeing 787-9s, with a skew towards business class and premium economy.

    This could reduce the overall passenger count (while retaining the higher-priced seats) in order to eke out extra range, similar to what Qantas has done with its Boeing 787-9 which flies non-stop between Perth and London."

    I think even QF 787-9 could do AKL-EWR nonstop if they want to because AKL-EWR is shorter than PER-LON. I am not sure, why Boeing needs to tweak those new 787-9 when NZ is anyway going configure them as QF ones.

    No member give thanks

  • StuParr

    StuParr

    24 May, 2019 03:19 pm

    While the distance is less, a commentator on an aviation website said the westerly winds mean it might not be in range on the return. But a 777x could do it. Not sure if anyone else here can confirm or deny that.
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    24 May, 2019 03:55 pm

    * reversed herringbone 1-2-1 seating configuration
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    26 May, 2019 05:09 am

    The current AKL/ORD/AKL service is performing well in regards to fuel consumption especially on the return leg, The 'extend range' option would allow Auckland to New York to operate comfortably in regards to fuel consumption for non-stop flights.

    The current 6 B787-9's that Qantas ordered in May 18 and the 30 options still available, could be delivered with the 'extend range' option.
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    24 May, 2019 03:52 pm

    There has been speculation for a while, that Air NZ has being working with Boeing about fine tuning the B787-9 for extra range since the delivery of the first B787-9 in 2014. I suspect they will order 5-6 B787-9s with the extend range option or 5 B787-9's with extend range option and 4 B787-10, as the -10's would handle the high passenger traffic markets like NZ to Asia that are currently by B777-200ERs and the previous B767-300ER's. The airline still has 5 options for additional B787's. If Air NZ does go ahead with the B787-9 with the extra range option, I would suspect that Qantas could be interested in the extra range option.

    The current AKL/ORD/AKL service is working well especially on the ORD/AKL sector despite the head winds with out any emergency refuelling stops.

    Air NZ is looking at a new hard and soft cabin products upgrades for Business Premier, Premium Economy, Skycoach and Economy. The airline has mentioned about adding a 4th class dubbed 'Economy X' that will fit between Economy and Premium Economy products.

    With Business Premier, the airline has said the new Business Premier will be better than the current Business Class products meaning the current 'coffins' will be replace with reversed herringbone 1-2- seating configuration. I guess we wlll have to wait until 27 May 19 to see what it will be,.

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  • Herman  G

    mancho90

    25 May, 2019 02:34 pm

    There are differences in air stream and temperatures that are not the same and PER-LHR...this is not just distance, it's endurance as well.
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  • Albinoni1967

    Albinoni1967

    24 May, 2019 02:28 pm

    Have Rolls Royce fixed their engine problems yet, I know alot of Airlines are still using the RR Trent engines, even Scoot.
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  • Peter Keenan

    PJK

    24 May, 2019 03:17 pm

    I certainly hope they ditch the herringbone layout, one feels as though they are in a bulk billing gynecologist clinic when walking down the aisle
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    markehlers

  • Denys Wynn

    BigD

    24 May, 2019 03:31 pm

    I’ll take your word for it.
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  • FlyGuy

    FlyGuy

    26 May, 2019 02:47 am

    That is truly a fully cervix airline then.
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  • Jim Dollan

    jaideester

    24 May, 2019 03:46 pm

    I hope this doesn't turn into a 787X!
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  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    24 May, 2019 06:02 pm

    They'll be leasing other planes whilst the new 787's come in and go out of service for engine repairs?
    No member give thanks

  • Morgan Judd

    Mjudd

    26 May, 2019 09:27 am

    Wonder if they will start a service to Europe via Perth
    Member who gave thanks

    Speedbird

  • cavemanzk

    cavemanzk

    26 May, 2019 04:56 pm

    If they did FRA/ZHR would make sense to tap onto LH/LX.

    Although they have said in the past no new one stop routes, although PER-Europe might be different. Then they would probably need feeder flights from MEL/SYD to help fill it...
    No member give thanks

  • John Geromoschos

    JTG

    27 May, 2019 10:16 am

    With this morning's news I see this as a bit of a backward step. Not in terms of aircraft but in terms of rollout. I think the 787 makes commercial sense (and hopefully you are not travelling in economy). With the first of the eight arriving in 2022 and the last of the eight arriving in 2027, they will have to reduce the number of routes if they want to retire the eight 777-200's by 2025
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  • mickeyg

    mickeyg

    27 May, 2019 01:15 pm

    How so? ... "with the remainder delivered at intervals through to 2027" allows a 3 year crossover period between 2022 and 2025 to introduce new routes.
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  • John Geromoschos

    JTG

    28 May, 2019 10:45 am

    There are eight new aircraft between 2022 & 2027 but they are retiring eight aircraft by 2025. There are at least two years where Air New Zealand have less aircraft. than they currently have. That does no bode well for more routes
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  • Ian Blekkenhorst

    idb

    28 May, 2019 03:11 pm

    The 777-200s also fly on Aussie routes, so expect the new A321s to replace that capacity, which could open up the 787-10 capacity for new routes
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  • kabe100

    kabe100

    29 May, 2019 01:44 pm

    I do not this A321 product can replace any of their wide body products. Their A321s do not have the same premium product.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    27 May, 2019 04:20 pm

    An extended range 787-10. I wonder what that adds up to. From 6500 to 7000nm or further. Qantas will be in the hunt for that to replace the A333 as the extra legs would suit it perfectly for the nether regions of Asia and even Brisbane LA.
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  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    28 May, 2019 07:19 am

    If recent history is any guide (B 789, a321 for example), NZ may well put the squeeze on seat pitch again.
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20 Jun, 2019 07:22 am

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