Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson says the upgrade of the eight aircraft is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014, with all eight aircraft planned to be completed in the following 12 months.

Mr Thompson says the 777-200ER first entered service with Air New Zealand in 2005, and has proven to be a very efficient aircraft throughout the airline’s network. The 304-seat 777-200ER aircraft currently operate on a selection of international routes.

"With the introduction of the 777-300ERs over the past 18 months and the arrival of the 787-9s in mid 2014, the 777-200ER fleet will be upgraded to align the product across all of the three long-haul fleet types," says Mr Thompson.

"We will be delivering the latest technology to our customers, including the Inflight Entertainment System developed in conjunction with Panasonic which will bring the latest in technology with improved resolution and capacitive touch monitors to all seats in the aircraft," he says.

The new system called 'Panasonic eXlite' will have improved system performance along with significant weight savings through better component design and architecture. Air New Zealand will be the launch customer for the new system on the 777-200ER.

Mr Thompson says that in addition to the new IFE system changes, the upgrade will introduce the new elements of the Air New Zealand brand refresh seen in the interiors of the 777-300ER and A320 domestic aircraft.

This will see the Business Premier seats on the 777-200ER upgraded to match that on the 777-300ER, and the complete replacement of the Premium Economy and Economy seats.

"Air New Zealand was the first to deliver a lie-flat sleeping experience to our Economy customers through our hugely successful Skycouch product, and we are excited about enabling many more customers to experience this on our 777-200ERs," says Mr Thompson.

A number of aircraft will also have new Air New Zealand livery applied during the same period.

"With pride this work will be undertaken at our Auckland Engineering Base," he says.

Mr Thompson says that the upgrade is part of Air New Zealand's commitment to maintaining a young, modern fleet, and delivering cutting-edge products to its customers alongside award-winning service.


Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320