Air New Zealand's fleet of Boeing 747-400 aircraft and eight new Boeing 777-200 aircraft will be configured in a three class layout of Business Premier, a new class for the airline called Pacific Premium Economy and Pacific Economy.

"After a significant period of planning, the introduction of a new long-haul product that reflects the very best of New Zealand style is nearly here," said Air New Zealand General Manager International Airline Ed Sims.

"New planes, new in-flight entertainment systems, new seats, new uniforms and a new food and beverage service are just some of the developments we are working on to dramatically improve our long-haul offering. It has been quite a journey and we look forward to delivering an absolutely market-leading product to our customers in the second half of this year."

Business Premier will offer completely lie-flat sleeping, making Air New Zealand the only airline to offer such a bed at a business class price on flights into and out of this country.

The innovative design includes a comfortable, 22" wide leather armchair that converts into a 6ft 7.5" bed, an ottoman footrest that doubles as a visitor's seat, direct aisle access for all passengers, in-seat power and a high resolution 10.4" screen to view the on-demand entertainment system.

Pacific Premium Economy will be located in the premium cabin and feature the largest pitch in its class at 39"-40" together with a generous seat width and on-demand entertainment on a personal 8.4" high resolution screen.

Customers will enjoy many of the comforts of the premium cabin, including the same beverage service, LED mood cabin lighting and in-seat power for electrical devices.

It will make Air New Zealand the only airline to be offering premium economy seating on services to and from New Zealand.

"Exact fares for Pacific Premium Economy have yet to be finalised, but are likely to be around 25% more than economy," says Mr Sims.

"On-sale dates, final pricing and exact aircraft configuration for all three classes will be announced shortly."

Pacific Economy will feature on-demand entertainment with high resolution 8.4" in-seat video screens and retain its generous 34" seat pitch on 747 aircraft.

The $160 million upgrade of the 747 fleet is already in progress, with suppliers well into production of key components including seats and interiors. The refit of the first aircraft is expected to begin in April and be flying by July.

The first of Air New Zealand's new 777 aircraft is expected to be in service in October.

Ends

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs Ph +64-9-336-2671

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.