Tasman Tanning also provided the leather for the seats in Air New Zealand's A320 aircraft, which are operating on the Tasman and Pacific routes.

Air New Zealand Group General Manager Marketing, Network & Sales, Norm Thompson said the airline would be introducing its new look long haul product from June next year and was delighted with the selection of Tasman Tanning to support the chosen premium class seating.

"Our long haul aircraft will feature a uniquely New Zealand theme encompassing the look and feel of the cabin, the in-flight entertainment system and our food and beverage service. In keeping with this we are increasing our involvement with local industry where possible.

"Tasman Tanning is a major manufacturer of finished leather upholstery and utilises high quality New Zealand hides - we have been extremely happy with their work on our A320 seating and are keen to continue this partnership in the refurbishment of our Boeing 747-400 aircraft and our new Boeing 777 fleet arriving as from next year," said Mr Thompson.

Managing Director of Tasman Tanning Hunter Tait said the firm is very excited about being involved in Air New Zealand's long haul aircraft programme.

"Our partnership with Air New Zealand on the initial A320 programme, from design through to production schedules, was an example of the tannery's ability to meet the high demands and unique design and branding details required by the airline's marketing and engineering team.

"Air New Zealand knew what they wanted and were committed to working with Tasman to get a leather of international standard, as well as meeting strict aviation guidelines," said Mr Tait.

The colour scheme chosen by Air New Zealand will be Dark Nikau as seen on the A320 Business Class seating. The processed top grade "full grain" leather hides will be sent to Contour premium Aircraft Seating in Wales to fit to the lie-flat beds.

The first Boeing 747-400 to be fitted with the new look interior will be in service in June 2005. The first Boeing 777 is scheduled to arrive in September 2005.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.