Air New Zealand to upgrade entire Boeing 777-200 fleet this year

Air New Zealand to upgrade entire Boeing 777-200 fleet this year

UPDATE | Air New Zealand has pushed back a fleet-wide refit of its Boeing 777-200 jets until the second half of 2015 – read our story for details.

PREVIOUS | Air New Zealand plans to overhaul all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200 jets this year with new seats from tip to tail, plus an all-new touchscreen inflight entertainment system, as the Kiwi carrier bolsters its international fleet.

"We have a complete refurbishment happening this year of our Boeing 777-200s" Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon confirmed to Australian Business Traveller during a briefing on the airline's forthcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

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

"These are 2005-2006 age aircraft, so they're still quite new. We're going to reconfigure them along the same lines as the Boeing 777-300 and our new 787-9 Dreamliners" Luxon said of the upgrade, which is costed at over NZ$100 million (A$92 million) and will include lie-flat beds in business class plus the innovative economy Skycouch (seen below).

"The exciting thing for us is we're going to end up with 25 widebody aircraft that all look and feel exactly the same" Luxon said.

"Whether you're going to Hong Kong or Shanghai, to Los Angeles or San Francisco, the customer experience is going to be consistent, and that's been a big drive of ours."

Well, maybe not exactly the same: while AirNZ's flagship 777-300 jets will feature the airline’s unique premium economy Spaceseat, the 777-200 refit will adopt the more conventional premium economy seat (seen below) used in the Boeing 787.

"Yes, they do have a different premium economy" Luxon allowed, "but the ratings on this (new) seat are fantastic – they are comparable to what we get on the Boeing 777-300."

"This premium economy going onto the 787-9 will also be going on the 777-200 refurb, so there will be 18 aircraft with this new premium economy and seven, all of our 777-300s, remain with the current Spaceseat configuration."

The premium economy seat of Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-200 and 787-9 is supplied by airline seat manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace and is the same base model as Cathay Pacific's premium economy.

However, all of AirNZ's premium economy seats will include the integrated footrest which Cathay Pacific limits to seats in only the front row of its cabin.

Panasonic's new touchscreen eXlite inflight entertainment system will also be installed in all seats, making Air New Zealand the first customer for the low-power lightweight kit.

Panasonic Avionics describes traits of the eXlite as "elegant industrial design, seamless interior integration, capacitive touch, proximity sensors, incredible viewing angles, and next-generation processors. It also has a streamlined architecture that reduces weight and cost."

Depending on how airlines want the eXlite configured the system's apps can include seat-to-seat chat as well as inflight Internet access to Facebook, Twitter and email.

In addition to receiving the first three of 10 Dreamliners this year, Air New Zealand will also pick up two more Boeing 777-300 jets.

"The Boeing 777-300s will continue to point into North America" Luxon says, with the Dreamliners predominately flying into Asia and the 777-200s flying "a mix of North America and Asia routes".

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David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

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.
 

10 Comments

  • nick83

    nick83

    14 Jan, 2014 10:12 am

    Any word if they're going up to 10 abreast in the economy cabin on their 777-200's like they are on their 777-300?

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    14 Jan, 2014 10:30 am

    >"The exciting thing for us is we're going to end up with 25 widebody aircraft that all look and feel exactly the same. Whether you're going to Hong Kong or Shanghai, to Los Angeles or San Francisco, the customer experience is going to be consistent, and that's been a big drive of ours."

    That seems to be code for "yes". 

    So is the fact that they don't say otherwise in this press release.

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    14 Jan, 2014 10:30 am

    "Upgrade", riiiiiight.

    Passengers will love the new feeling of togetherness that you only get by being crammed ten abreast in a fuselage designed for nine. 

    Air New Zealand has been my airline of choice across the Pacific for some years, but with this "upgrade" and the presumably-imminent retirement of the 747 I guess I'll be looking at VA or DL. (At least until they decide to "upgrade" too...)

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    14 Jan, 2014 11:00 am

    10abreast is fast becomming the 'standard' arrangement across many airlines' 777s.. AIRNZ should seize the moment and market' the ENTIRE Y/C cabin as 'cuddle class' as you've got no choice but to cuddle your seatmates on a 10abreast Y/C..hehe

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  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    17 Jan, 2014 11:38 am

    Going trans-Pacific in Y on the -300 must be absolute torture.  Even the A320 is not great - 17" on NZ vs. 18" on Air Asia/Philippines/easyjet/etc.  What's the deal with that?

    It really says something when the most spacious economy seats in your fleet are on the Beechcraft 1900D!  

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  • StuParr

    StuParr

    14 Jan, 2014 10:38 am

    Great to see. I really like ANZ's service.

    That being said, I'm not sure I'd want to be in Y 10 abreast. I'm glad we won't be doing that.

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    14 Jan, 2014 10:50 am

    gotta laugh when the word 'exactly' really means 'well, not quite the same'... keeping 2 very different P/Y seats is a minus in my books...also i fear the 9abreast will become 10abreast in Y/C.  These a/c currently have a 9abreast P/Y AND 9abreast Y/C, so logic to me suggests the 'refurb' will include a 10abreast Y/C (to give commonality across the 777 type) and make the 9abreast P/Y look more appealing!! all speculation on my part

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    14 Jan, 2014 11:02 am

    They'll definitely go for the ten abreast torture chamber in economy. Premium economy will presumably be eight abreast, givent that this is the same seat that CX puts eight abreast in its own 777s.

    That ought to be reasonably comfy. It's a shame it'll be twice the price of regular economy, though, while offering 1.5 times the space (and a ten-buck better meal).

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    14 Jan, 2014 11:36 am

    my mistake..yes P/Y 8abreast is more the 'norm' ... even more appealing!! pricing is not an exact science..there are many Y/C and P/Y price points (ranging from 'sale fares' to 'full fares' everything inbetween) sometimes a full fare Y/C comes very close to a sale fare P/Y in the same travel period..all depends on supply/demand 

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  • sagidec

    sagidec

    14 Jan, 2014 11:45 am

    Glad they're upgrading them

    Flew to YVR on 777-200, where the interior is getting old and small screen (with the badly placed remote on the arm rest where your sitting position can by accident push the buttons)

    Had a taste of the newish interior on the A320 from SYD to AKL (bigger backseat touch screen with USB and touch screen)

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  • Broderick Boyd

    brobro

    14 Jan, 2014 12:17 pm

    10 abreast is too much. Im currently in a position where I need to book a flight YVR-AKL-SYD for August. I can either take a chance and hope to get the old config on the 772 or just take the short hop to SFO and jump on the old work horse 747. Decisions!

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  • moa999

    moa999

    14 Jan, 2014 02:47 pm

    Sounds like code for we're dumping the PE SpaceSeat

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    14 Jan, 2014 04:32 pm

    AIRNZ have already stated they keeping the PE spaceseat on their existing 777-300

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  • bryce05

    bryce05

    14 Jan, 2014 05:50 pm

    But will it feature on their 2 new 777-300s being delivered this year?

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    14 Jan, 2014 06:15 pm

    good point...i missed the 2 new 773s coming this year...hmmmm lets see what happens with them!! im betting the 'new' P/E (a la 772)  will be installed..thus another 777 config!!

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  • David Flynn

    David

    14 Jan, 2014 06:16 pm

    The new 777-300s will have the Spaceseat.

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  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    14 Jan, 2014 08:40 pm

    When will the refurbishment happen (i.e. when the first aircraft will be refurbished)? Did Air New Zealand give you a date? Travelling Y AKL - HKG on February 9 and hoping to see the old configuration.

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  • Jason Bird

    Speedbird

    14 Jan, 2014 09:34 pm

    I love this site, and hate that my first post is going to be about a grammar issue. I hate grammar nazi's so please accept my apologies David.

    "Air New Zealand plans to overhaul its all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200"

    "It's all eight of its" just doesn't work, surely it should be "Air New Zealand plans to overhaul its entire fleet of eight long-range Boeing 777-200"

    again, sorry

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  • mclem

    mclem

    15 Jan, 2014 08:44 am

    Just a small point:

    It's "grammar nazis" not "grammar nazi's"

    A simpler modification would be "Air New Zealand plans to overhaul all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200"

    :)

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  • Kay Thurgood

    jhkt

    17 May, 2014 04:58 pm

    Has the upgrade for ANZ 777/200 happened yet and will the Auckland - Vancouver route be on the new refit by late August 2014?

    No member give thanks

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18 Nov, 2017 08:01 am

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