Air New Zealand Expected To Order Boeing 787 Or 777

Filed Under: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is a pretty conservative airline when it comes to their fleet and routes. Currently Air New Zealand exclusively uses Airbus planes for their narrow body fleet, and Boeing planes for their wide body fleet.

As it stands, Air New Zealand’s long haul fleet consists of the following planes:

  • 9 Boeing 777-200ERs
  • 8 Boeing 777-300ERs
  • 13 Boeing 787-9s (with one more plane on order)

We’ve known for a while that Air New Zealand was planning on placing another order for wide body planes, as they’ll eventually need to refresh their existing fleet.

Air New Zealand’s long haul aircraft plans

Air New Zealand management has repeatedly said that the airline is trying to decide between Airbus and Boeing for their long haul fleet renewal. With Airbus they’d be considering the A350 (either the -900 or -1000 variant), and with Boeing they’d be considering the 787 or 777X.

This March Air New Zealand’s finance director said the airline was nearing a decision, and hoped to have an announcement within months.

While nothing has been formally announced, Reuters quotes sources as saying that Air New Zealand is expected to announce a wide body order with Boeing shortly, as the aircraft manufacturer beat out rival Airbus.

Don’t get too excited yet, as these planes won’t be joining Air New Zealand’s fleet anytime soon. In the past executives have said that it will likely be 2023 at the earliest when the airline gets new planes.

Which Boeing aircraft is Air New Zealand likely to order?

While it sounds like the Boeing order is more or less a sure bet, the big question is whether they’ll order 787s, 777Xs, or a combination of both.

Of the 787 variants, the 787-9 seems like the most logical option. The 787-10 is higher capacity but lower range, and Air New Zealand needs the range for many of their flights.

Could Air New Zealand also be considering some 777Xs, though, which are higher capacity, more fuel efficient, and longer range than previous versions of the 777?

Air New Zealand executives have talked about wanting to fly nonstop to New York and Sao Paulo.

The 787-9 could comfortably fly nonstop to Sao Paulo, while I believe New York would be pushing range limits on the 787-9 (while Perth to London is operated by the 787-9 and is slightly longer, this route would face significantly stronger winds on the westbound journey). The 777X could easily make the journey, though.

Somehow I’m skeptical about Air New Zealand ordering the 777X, though. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but rather the airline just seems really conservative, and the 777X offers a lot of capacity.

Purely in terms of O&D passenger numbers, New York to Auckland isn’t a huge market. They may fly it in spite of that, as their mainland US route network is based largely around flying to United hubs, as the airline currently flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.

In that regard Newark would be a logical addition, though I’m not sure how much value that route would add in terms of connecting traffic, since most connections through Newark could be routed through Chicago or Houston instead.

Bottom line

My money is on Air New Zealand being conservative and simply ordering some more 787-9s for their fleet renewal. Maybe we’ll see some 787-10s, which would offer sufficient range for flights to Asia and Australia, while also adding capacity.

It’s also possible that they order some 777X, though I’m not confident about that at the moment.

Do you think Air New Zealand will order the 787 or 777X?

Comments

  1. @Lucky,

    Please look into returning the link functionality that takes the comment count (link) directly to the start of comments on each article.

  2. Perhaps they’ll take their new order as an opportunity to introduce a new J product? People often complain about the current VS Upper Class, which is basically the same seat, and while I don’t find it anywhere near as uncomfortable as some I do agree that it is getting quite dated. Personally, the possibility of a new J for Air New Zealand is something I find a lot more exciting than what Boeing type they’ll end up ordering more of.

  3. Off topic, but looks like Austrian is canceling the $ 1750 tickets they offered to Moscow last week. Sigh.

  4. Interesting to note that although the A350-900 can do the AKL-EWR route without offering too much capacity like the B777X and yet Air NZ still prefers the Boeing option.

  5. An NYC nonstop could be a compelling option as it has both connecting and O&D traffic- the equivalent of the Perth London nonstop for Qantas.
    One also needs to consider the ease of transiting in a third country for city pairs with no nonstop connectivity versus domestically- thru check in and no customs clearance.
    I believe even with Project Sunrise there would be sufficient demand for an AKL-NYC nonstop as these flights will only operate from Melbourne and Sydney and would have a premium centric configuration making them very niches.
    Air NZ would be able to offer the most convenient one stop iternary from Australia to New York. The United hub at EWR is an added bonus.
    GRU will be a bit more challenged I would imagine. South America is a vast continent and Santiago is a far more viable transit hub geographically. Air NZ has no onward connectivity from GRU which in itself will have limited demand compared to NYC.

  6. Really curious about QF’s and NZ’S interest in Brazil. QF already counts with flights to SCL and a possible further connections with LA onwards to many cities in South America. LA also operates a direct flight to MEL and another one to SYD via AKL (and I think they operate these two daily). Furthermore there is barely any *A presence in GRU that could help in providing connections beyond. I am definitely missing something.

  7. Edit: SCL-MEL x3 weekly, SCL-AKL-SYD daily, SYD-SCL x1-2 weekly. Seems plenty of capacity to me

  8. @ Vince

    I don’t think there’s any great mystery: the 787 is literally half the price of the A350. It was built down to a price, and airlines love that. The fact that the A350 is a more spacious and quieter environment for customers is not considered important.

  9. I’ve always wondered why Air New Zealand hasn’t partnered up with either Copa or Avianca to provide a better gateway into South America besides EZE. I really think AKL-PTY could work in terms of connecting traffic. O/D probably wouldn’t be great but traffic from the Carribean, Florida and Northern South America could probably fill a 788 or 789 3x weekly.

  10. Maybe not much connecting traffic at JFK but you’d get a lot of feeder traffic from Australia that would more than make up for it. I would happily take flying Air New Zealand to NYC connecting through AKL over connecting through LAX or DFW with Qantas and American. Perhaps that changes if Qantas get Project Sunrise off the ground but until then it would be a no-brainer.

  11. If NZ went for the A359 and operated AKL-NYC direct they could tag it with a flight to Europe – perhaps even replacing the LAX stop with NYC. I suspect that NZ would do very well on LHR-NYC provided they up the game on their business class offering which is now way behind the times.

    The also work closely with SQ who of course now have a sizeable A359 fleet.

  12. @The Nice Paul,
    Airlines focus on cost rather than comfort and quiet conditions BECAUSE ultimately passengers tend to vote with their wallets. As long as it remains easier to fill a cabin with lower priced tickets that pattern of aircraft selection will continue.
    There was a period when AA pledged to offer more pitch that its competitors, that ended when passengers seemed to not care while booking.

  13. São Paulo looked promising a few years ago, but Brazil’s economic decline has left it as an underperforming tag from Buenos Aires.

    I think that Newark would appeal to Air NZ, but I think that South America is almost a lost cause. There is minimal trade and there are minimal social and family connections.

    I think they would do better to increase their Honolulu frequency and to operate 789’s to Seattle, Portland and possibly even San Diego, with a view to cornering the one-stop market from each of those cities to Eastern Australia.

  14. What Phil Duncan said. Air NZ are working on a new business class hard product which I’m assuming will be ready by the time they take delivery of these new aircraft. They could easily be looking at either NYC or GRU as an additional stopover on the way to Europe or to replace the existing hellish experience transiting through LAX on the way to LHR.

  15. Auckland to JFK or EWR would do well, NZ gets a lot of feeder traffic from Australia. We’d much prefer Australia-Auckland-New York than doing the QF shuffle at LAX (land, bus to gate, immigration, re-check bag, run to new gate for JFK flight). Americans may find this odd, but lots of Australians don’t like QF.

  16. @ DB

    +4

    Has OMAAT been taken over by AA, and this is just the start of the cost-cutting?!

  17. @ DB @ Hawaiian Joe @ Michael @ The nice Paul — Sorry! It was one of a few things causing some significant performance issues, particularly on mobile, so we’ve disabled that functionality until it can get fixed properly. I know it’s a few extra thumb flicks, but it’s realistically better than pages taking 45+ seconds to load.

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