Air New Zealand’s striking new all black A320 aircraft will touch down at Auckland airport for the first time this afternoon, marking the start of a revolution in the airline’s domestic jet service.
The Airbus A320s will progressively replace Air New Zealand's existing fleet of Boeing 737-300s, increasing the number of passenger seats and improving fuel efficiency on the domestic jet network which forms the backbone of commercial air travel in New Zealand.
"The first four will be delivered this year and the remaining ten progressively through until 2016, coinciding with the expiry of our current B737-300 aircraft leases," says Scott Carr General Manager New Zealand.
The larger aircraft will enable Air New Zealand to increase capacity on routes that are beginning to face capacity constraints at some airports during peak times.
The current 737 fleet is configured with 133 seats, with the larger domestic A320 aircraft increasing domestic jet capacity by almost 30%.
To kick off this transition, the first domestic A320 celebrates Air New Zealand's long running sponsorship of the All Blacks with a stunning jet black livery, silver fern motif and Koru on the tail.
The aircraft, which carries the registration ZK-OAB, is due to arrive in Auckland at 3:30pm this afternoon after making a three day journey from the home base of manufacturer Airbus in Toulouse (France), via Gander (Canada), Denver, Los Angeles and Samoa.
After touching down at Auckland airport, the aircraft will taxi to the domestic terminal, where the aircraft will receive an official welcome.
The new A320 fleet coupled with the new fleet of Boeing 777-300s, will ensure Air New Zealand continues to have one of the youngest fleets in the world.
Aircraft enthusiasts outside of Auckland will have an opportunity to see this distinctive aircraft during a whirlwind five-stop nationwide tour on Waitangi Day, 6 February.
Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320
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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, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Air India, Avianca-TACA, Copa Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries.