Air New Zealand announced today that it will purchase four Boeing 777-300 Extended Range (ER) aircraft, as it continues to implement its wide-body fleet renewal programme.
Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe says the aircraft will be delivered in parallel with the airline's Boeing 787-9 between late 2010 and 2011. The airline has also secured purchase options for a further three B777-300ER aircraft.
The purchase of the four Boeing 777-300ERs, which was achieved based on prices agreed in 2004, represents a substantial discount to today's list price of USD$1.1 billion.
“The purchase rights for the 777-300ERs were obtained from Boeing in 2004, and the confidence we showed in the future of Air New Zealand when the aircraft purchasing market was at the bottom of the cycle three years ago has really paid off,” says Mr Fyfe.
Today's announcement takes the amount committed by Air New Zealand to long haul fleet investment to more than NZ$2.6 billion.
“When we have taken delivery of all the aircraft we have on order, Air New Zealand will have one of the youngest, most technologically advanced, most fuel efficient and most environmentally friendly long haul fleets in the world. Simply, we will set a high benchmark and standard for all our competitors both in terms of operational efficiency and world-class products and service,” Mr Fyfe says.
The latest acquisitions will allow Air New Zealand to move to a full 777 and 787 twin engine fleet for long haul flights around 2012, with the 747s and 767s being phased out as the new aircraft are introduced to the network.
“Our eight 747-400s have been the mainstay of our long-haul fleet for almost 18 years, and have proven to be a real workhorse for the airline. However, the Boeing 787-9 and 777 aircraft are much better suited to Air New Zealand's long-term growth strategy of serving new markets point-to-point, and offer significant environmental benefits through higher fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.”
The Boeing 787 is 20% more fuel efficient than other long-haul aircraft, while the 777s in Air New Zealand's fleet are 16% more efficient than its 747s. The 777s will be powered by one of the world's most highly efficient and reliable engines manufactured by General Electric.
“Since the early 1990s we have been steadily reducing our CO2 emissions per passenger due to fleet upgrades, technology improvements and better operating practices and we are determined to continue that trend and take advantage of the technological advances that have been made in aircraft engineering and manufacturing in recent years,” Mr Fyfe says.
Air New Zealand currently has eight Boeing 777-200ERs in its fleet and eight Boeing 787-9s on order, for delivery over the next five years. The airline is the launch customer for the Boeing 787-9.
Mr Fyfe says the 787s and 777-300ER aircraft will provide Air New Zealand with a solid platform to realise its growth ambitions over the next decade, given their ability to fly direct to regions like India, South America, Asia and deep into China and North America.
“But having aircraft that allow us to achieve our environmental and new destination ambitions are just two parts of the equation to ensure Air New Zealand's continued success. How we design the interiors of those aircraft is what will really set us apart from the competition and give us a competitive advantage.
“To ensure we continue to remain at the cutting edge of delivering a unique and inspirational product for long haul travel we are working closely with IDEO, one of the world's most innovative design organisations, on the design for the Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-300ER interior product,” he says.
“Our goal is to redefine long-haul travel. Air New Zealand's premium product broke new ground when it was introduced in 2005. We plan to change the game again in 2010 with a world-leading product that is both inspirational and uniquely Kiwi.
“Over the past two years we have seen exceptional growth in yields on our long-haul product thanks to the substantial efforts and investment we put into creating a game-changing proposition. We expect the next evolution will build on that success and really take our customers' long haul experience to the next level.”
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The Boeing 777-300ER can accommodate up to 50 more passengers than the highly popular 313 seat Boeing 777-200ERs that were inducted into Air New Zealand's fleet over the past two years. One of the aircraft's key strengths is its ability to carry an additional four tonnes of freight over and above the Boeing 747-400.
Air New Zealand still retains 23 further purchase rights for the Boeing 777 family of aircraft following the deal announced today, as well as eight 787 options and eight 787 purchase rights.
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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.