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DALLAS – Boeing’s continuing production issues have led Air New Zealand (NZ) to defer the delivery of outstanding Boeing 787s to 12 months.
Boeing announced the temporary hiatus to the delivery of its 787 Dreamliners back in May. This followed another five-month delivery suspension that ended in March 2021. The latest break was due to numerous production issues, which led to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) intervention.
NZ, the launch customer for the 787-9, currently has eight 787s on order, two -9s, and six of the larger -10s. The lengthy backlog of orders caused by the production break has led the airline to alter its delivery dates. NZ now expects to receive its first two Dreamliners in 2025 rather than 2024, as previously expected. Two more will arrive in 2026 and four in 2027.
This isn’t the first time that NZ has deferred delivery of its 787s. In June 2021, the airline announced that it had pushed back the arrival date for the first of eight new Dreamliners it had on order to 2024. This was due to the government’s ongoing travel restrictions and slow return of pre-pandemic international passenger numbers.
The move comes as a shock after the airline recently announced it was mulling over the idea of leasing aircraft to boost its summer operation. In a statement, NZ CEO Greg Foran said, “at the moment we’re stretched to capacity, and making sure our customers are able to travel is our top priority. The lease of an additional crewed aircraft may help us achieve that.”
Air New Zealand also plans to retrofit its current 787-9 fleet, which has 14 in service. The upgrade is expected to cost NZ$450 million (US$275.7 million) and take several years to complete.
Featured Image: Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 (ZK-NZN). Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways.