Air New Zealand takes delivery of its first A321neo

A321neo Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has become a new operator of the A321neo, following the delivery of its first aircraft this weekend. In total, Air New Zealand will acquire 20 A320neo Family aircraft.

Air New Zealand’s first A321neo is painted in the airline’s iconic all black livery. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower engines and accommodates 214 passengers in a comfortable single-class layout.

Selected for its outstanding operational efficiency, comfort and range, Air New Zealand’s fleet of A320neo aircraft will initially add capacity on the carrier’s trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes and at a later stage on domestic services.

Air New Zealand is an important operator of the A320 Family, with a total of 30 A320ceo currently in service on its domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific Islands routes.

Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies, including new-generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver 15 percent fuel savings. With more than 6,100 orders received from over 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured nearly 60 percent share of the market.

@FlyAirNZ #airNZneo #Airbus

 

Source :  Airbus Website

Air New Zealand unveils new Melbourne lounge

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand has unveiled a new premium passenger lounge at Melbourne Airport, in the latest example of the airline’s investment in Australia as it seeks to attract more travellers from this side of the Tasman onto its long-haul services.

The upgraded facility at Tullamarine is the third of Air New Zealand’s lounges in Australia to have been improved in recent times, with new Sydney and Brisbane lounges having opened in May 2015 and March 2016, respectively.

Further, the Star Alliance member said in January it planned to open a new lounge at Perth Airport by the end of 2017.

Air New Zealand’s Melbourne lounge, on the ground floor of the international terminal, features similar elements as those in Sydney and Melbourne, given architectural firm Gensler has worked on all three facilities.

It has capacity to seat 250 people and offers a self-service food buffet, barista coffee and various seating options from lounge chairs to long benches and quiet nooks for users to work, rest or play prior to their flight.

Air New Zealand general manager for customer experience Anita Hawthorne said the size of the lounge has been expanded by 50 per cent.

“The airline has been investing heavily in the Australian market and promoting its services through its ‘Better Way to Fly’ campaign starring Dave the goose which encourages Australians to travel Air New Zealand to North and South America,” Hawthorne said.

“It’s also clear Australians love the Air New Zealand products and services after recently taking out the number one spot in AMR’s 2017 Australia Corporate Reputation Index so we look forward to welcoming customers to our new lounge.”

The lounge will be officially opened for passengers on Tuesday, Air New Zealand said in a statement on Monday.

Air New Zealand serves Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington from Melbourne, while its trans-Tasman alliance partner Virgin Australia has its own nonstop services to Auckland and Christchurch.

In October 2016, Air New Zealand launched an advertising campaign featuring the voice of Australian actor Bryan Brown in a new marketing push to grow passenger numbers from Australia travelling to the Americas – where it serves six destinations – Buenos Aires, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – via its Auckland hub.

There have also been product improvements with the withdrawal of the Boeing 767 fleet paving the way for Air New Zealand to offer more 787-9 services on trans-Tasman routes, such as the announced Dreamliner operation to Adelaide starting in October 2017.

Some travellers may be attracted to an international-to-international connection at Auckland, where they remain in the same terminal and have the option of flying on widebody aircraft on both legs, rather than a domestic-to-international transit in Australia.

The new Tullamarine lounge was part of Air New Zealand’s $100 million lounge development program.

Source : Australian Aviation

Air New Zealand wins communications award

Air New Zealand’s communications team has been named ‘Communications Team of the Year’ at Communications Director magazine’s Asia Pacific Excellence awards, announced in Hong Kong on Thursday evening.

The airline was awarded the top gong ahead of NEC Australia and Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance. Air New Zealand was also a finalist in two other categories, ‘Campaign of the Year’ and ‘Travel & Tourism’, both for its Better Way to Fly campaign encouraging Australians to travel Air New Zealand to North and South America.

“This year’s awards attracted a high calibre of entrants from globally recognised communications agencies and high profile companies including Samsung, Ford Motors and Warner Bros Pictures,” Air New Zealand’s head of communications Marie Hosking said in a statement.

“To win the evening’s big award against such competition is a great acknowledgment of the team’s hard work and the airline’s commitment to professional communications. We’re proud to work for an organisation that values the contribution effective and engaging communications makes to commercial performance, employee engagement and customer sentiment.”

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has released a new phase of its Better Way to Fly campaign, focused on Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Australian Aviation

Air New Zealand unveils new seat for Airbus A320neo/A321neo fleet

Air New Zealand's new seat for its all-economy Airbus A320neo and A321neo. (Air New Zealand)

 

Air New Zealand says its new Airbus A320neos and A321neos due for delivery from 2018 will feature wider seats than on the airline’s current narrowbody fleet.

The Star Alliance member and Virgin Australia alliance partner says window and aisle seats have been designed one centimetre wider than those on A320s that are flown internationally, while the middle seat is three centimetres wider.

The new slim-line seats from United Kingdom-based Acro Aircraft Seating were unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on Tuesday (European time) and also feature a new seat cover developed with New Zealand based Flight Interiors.

Air New Zealand operates A320s, which are configured in an all-economy layout, on trans-Tasman and South Pacific routes, as well as domestically within New Zealand.

The airline has ordered 13 Airbus A320neo family aircraft comprised of nine A320neos and four A321neos, according to the Airbus website. Air New Zealand has guided the market to its first A320neo/A321neo arriving in 2018, with the aircraft earmarked to replace existing A320s.

Air New Zealand general manager for customer experience Anita Hawthorne said the seat design took into account feedback from passengers, particularly regarding the middle seat experience.

“We currently have many customers who state a preference for window or aisle seats and it’s possible the new design may see the middle seat get a boost in popularity,” Hawthorne said in a statement.

“We have a long history of innovating and of thinking outside the box for solutions so we were fortunate to work alongside a like-minded partner such as Acro.

“We believe what we’ve co-designed is not only practical from an operational perspective but importantly a more comfortable and spacious experience for our customers.”

Acro chief executive Chris Brady said: “To reveal the new seat at this event, which showcases all the very latest innovations, technologies and products for cabin interiors was hugely exciting and piqued a lot of interest in the new product from other airlines and the wider industry alike.”

Arco Aircraft Seating and Air New Zealand launching the new Arco Series 6 seats at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. (Arco/Facebook)

Source : Australian Aviation

Air New Zealand prepares to farewell the Boeing 767

A file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Air New Zealand operated the Boeing 767-200ER in addition to the 767-300ER. (Rob Finlayson)

After almost 32 years in service, Air New Zealand will operate the Boeing 767 fleet for the last time on Friday.

The final flight for the sole remaining 767-300ER in the fleet ZK-NCI is scheduled to depart Sydney as NZ108 at 1855 and touch down in Auckland 2359 local time.

The Star Alliance member has been progressively replacing its 767s with next generation Boeing 787-9s, which feature the airline’s latest cabin products and offer lower operating costs and improved fuel efficiency while carrying more passengers.

Further, it gives the New Zealand flag carrier a simplified fleet structure with three jet aircraft types – narrowbody Airbus A320s and widebody 787-9s and 777-200ER/300ERs. Air New Zealand farewelled the 747 in September 2014.

“The Boeing 767 aircraft has been a stalwart at Air New Zealand for more than 30 years now but moving to operate the modern 787-9 Dreamliners on our long-haul routes will allow us to be more efficient and have a consistent wide-body fleet which will deliver benefits to both the business and customers,” Air New Zealand chief operations, integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan said in a statement on Friday.

Morgan said the transition from the 767-300ER to 787-9 would result in a three per cent increase in capacity on Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman and Pacific Island network.

Air New Zealand’s 787-9s are configured with 302 seats across 18 in business, 21 in premium economy and 263 in economy. The airline will also have three 787-9s in a more premium heavy configuration featuring 27 business, 33 premium economy and 215 economy seats for a total of 275.

By contrast, the 767-300ERs had 230 seats (24 in business and 206 in economy).

The airline has nine 787-9s in its fleet, with a further four due for delivery between now and the end of 2018.

While ZK-NCI will be withdrawn from the Air New Zealand fleet after Friday’s flight, it will continue to fly having been sold to a new operator and slated for conversion to a freighter.

Air New Zealand took delivery of its first 767 in September 1985 and has flown both the -200 and -300 variant of the type. The final active 767-300ER ZK-NCI joined the fleet in November 1994, meaning it has had a near 23 years with the New Zealand flag carrier.

The airline said its 767s have carried such luminaries as New Zealand’s America’s Cup winners, Pope John Paul II and the Rolling Stones over the years.

Qantas farewelled the 767 in December 2014 after a 29-year career operating 927,000 flights that carried nearly 168 million passengers. The last flight was on December 27.

Air New Zealand has published a video of its 767 senior fleet manager Captain Greg Liddy speaking about the aircraft’s withdrawal.

Australian Aviation

Air New Zealand optimistic on year ahead after reporting drop in first half profit

Air NZ has been using more Boeing 787-9s on Tasman and Pacific Island routes as the 767-300ERs are retired.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says there is reason to be optimistic about the rest of 2016/17 as international capacity growth moderates following a challenging first half where increased competition on long-haul routes led to net profit falling by almost a quarter.

The company posted statutory net profit after tax of NZ$256 million (A$240 million) for the six months to December 31 2016, down 24.3 per cent from NZ$338 million (A$317 million) in the prior corresponding period.

Earnings before taxation fell 24 per cent to NZ$349 million (A$327 million), compared with NZ$457 million (A$459 million) a year ago. The result included a $22 million gain on the sale of Air New Zealand’s stake in trans-Tasman alliance partner Virgin Australia.

Revenue was 4.3 per cent lower at NZ$2.6 billion (A$2.4 billion), Air New Zealand said in a regulatory filing to the Australian and New Zealand stock exchange on Thursday. (The company is listed in both countries.)

“Competitive capacity from new carriers certainly impacted revenue with eight new carriers entering the New Zealand market,” Luxon said during the airline’s results presentation to the financial community.

“It is obvious that we have had to adjust to a new revenue environment.”

Over the past two years, Air New Zealand has been in expansion mode, with long-haul services to Buenos Aires, Houston and Singapore launched as the airline sought to take advantage of the strong growth in visitor numbers to New Zealand.

Other carriers were also keen to tap into the the local tourism market – Emirates and Qatar commenced non-stop flights from Auckland to their Gulf hubs, while the airport fire trucks were kept busy welcoming Chinese carriers adding new flights to New Zealand from both major and secondary Chinese cities.

Meanwhile, American and United (in partnership with Air NZ) started new nonstop service from Auckland to their respective US west coast hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively.

United has since said it would end year-round Auckland-San Francisco flights from April, switching to a seasonal service scheduled to operate over the end-of-year holiday period. The route is operated as part of a joint-venture with Air New Zealand.

Luxon said overall industry capacity across all of Air New Zealand’s long-haul markets was up by a staggering 30 per cent in the first half. This led to a revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK), falling 13.2 per cent on its long-haul international services.

However, the Air New Zealand chief executive said that capacity growth was tipped to slow in the second half based on forward schedules.

“Some Chinese carriers appear to be taking steps to reduce frequency to New Zealand during our low season and this has the potential to help our international long-haul RASK when looking beyond 2017,” Luxon said.

“We probably think we are at the high water tide mark of new competitors coming into the marketplace.”

A bit closer to home, there has been a slew of new fifth-freedom operators on the Tasman, with AirAsia X, China Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Emirates and Singapore Airlines offering an alternative to the Air NZ/Virgin Australia and Qantas/Emirates/Jetstar offerings.

Air New Zealand said its Tasman and Pacific Islands network was forecast to grow capacity six per cent, due in part to the larger capacity Boeing 787-9s replacing the 767-300ER that were being retired.

Luxon said it was a “challenging pricing environment” in the trans-Tasman market, with RASK down 7.7 per cent in the first half due to new capacity and new long-haul routes out of New Zealand that has opened up more seats for sale for point-to-point rather than connecting traffic.

On a more positive note, the airline’s recent marketing push to get more Australians traveling to North and South America to go via Auckland has been “much more successful than we anticipated”.

“We continue want to build that out,” Luxon said.

In its home domestic market, Luxon said Air New Zealand had weathered a push from from Qantas-owned Jetstar on regional routes with a fleet of five 50-seat Dash 8 Q300s.

Air New Zealand said capacity on domestic routes was expected to rise about 11 per cent in the second half of 2016/17, which reflected the upgauging of regional services following the elimination of the 19-seat Beech 1900D and additional flying out of cities such as Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.

“In summary there are some moving parts but we feel better where we stand looking out than we did six months ago,” Luxon said.

“That doesn’t mean that our teams get complacent and we still are facing a significant amount of competition and it will still be very challenging, but you can expect that our teams will be very focused on execution regardless of the environment.”

“We are fundamentally feeling good about some of the capacity decisions we have seen from other carriers, especially as we go into our low season.”

The Star Alliance member took delivery of three 787-9 Dreamliners, one Airbus A320 and two ATR 72-600 turboprops during the first half. It also acquired two A320s that were already in the fleet that were previously on operating leases.

The airline expected to retire its final two 767-300ERs by the end of March.

Separately, Air New Zealand said it had recently decided to add an additional 787-9 on operating lease from Air Lease Corporation. This would bring the total 787-9 fleet to 13, with the aircraft due to be delivered in 2019.

In terms of the outlook, Air New Zealand said it expected earnings before taxation for the full 2017/18 year to come in a range between NZ$475 million to NZ$525 million.

The updated guidance was a narrower range than the company presented in September for earnings before taxation of NZ$400-600 million.

The company declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 10 cents per share.

 

Australian Aviation