The airline's fleet of eight B747 aircraft will be reconfigured to replace 15 standard Economy seats located at the front of the main cabin with eight Premium Economy seats. Work is scheduled for completion by end of October.

Group General Manager International Airline, Ed Sims said the move to increase the numbers of these larger seats on the aircraft was in response to positive customer feedback and strong demand.

"We introduced the Pacific Premium Economy seating class in our upgraded B747 aircraft for those of our customers who seek the additional comfort and space but who do not look to purchase a Business Premier seat," said Mr Sims.

"This new seating option provided at a very competitive price, has proven extremely popular with our leisure customers flying long haul routes such as to Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, and there are strong forward bookings for this seat class. Allowing for seasonality, we have seen an average of 80% loadings in this cabin class with up to 95% during peak travel periods.

Our customers are telling us that the extra width and legroom are 'excellent' and the new seating arrangement within a small cabin environment is 'very comfortable', with many stating they would certainly use it again. Comparisons have even been made with our former business class, with one customer saying that 'the new Premium Economy is fantastic, almost as good as old Business Class."

The Premium Economy seats will be installed progressively in the eight 747 aircraft, with work commencing mid - August and completed by end of October.

Currently 23 Premium Economy seats are located in the upstairs cabin of the B747 so the additional seats in the main cabin will provide a total of 31 in this class offered on the aircraft.

Air New Zealand's new B777 aircraft have 18 Premium Economy seats available.

Premium Economy features Standard Economy features
39-40 inch seat pitch 34 inch seat pitch
18.5 inch seat width 17 inch seat width
9 inch seat recline 6 inch seat recline

Customers seated in Premium Economy share the same facilities as those in Business Premier and receive the same premium in-flight beverage service.

B 767 Refresh

The first part of a two stage project to refresh the cabin interiors of the five Boeing 767s owned by Air New Zealand is also near completion.

The enhancement to the B767 fleet follows the significant upgrade of Air New Zealand's B747 and the introduction of the new B777 aircraft.

"The challenge was not to over-invest in these aircraft which have significantly less time left in the Air New Zealand fleet, but to try and create a similar look to the B747s and B777s on our fleet," said Mr Sims.

"We delighted with the results so far and the changes, although relatively small, have been very well received by our customers."

Stage one of the project sees the carpets, seat covers and curtains being replaced to ensure an improved look and feel in the cabin. This work is being undertaken during scheduled maintenance downtime and will be completed by July.

"Later in the year there will be changes to the galleys, lavatories and additional IFE screens fitted through Economy class to improve visibility for customers," said Mr Sims.

The two leased B767 aircraft, ZK-NCH and ZK-NCO, will continue with existing interiors until they exit the fleet in October 2006 and August 2007 respectively.


ENDS

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs: ph +64 9 336 2761

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.