DALLAS – After bringing its last airframe back from the desert boneyard, Air New Zealand has announced that it will invest billions of dollars in its fleet, adding new aircraft and upgrading existing cabins. It will also spend NZ$30m (US$19m) marketing New Zealand as a tourist destination.
NZ$3.5bn (US$2.2bn) will be used to purchase eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and five Airbus A320neo. Meanwhile, its 14 current 787-9s will be fully refurbished, including the new Business Premier Luxe and refreshed cabins.
NZ is also “in final negotiations” to add another Boeing 777-300ER, adding 3,000 additional seats to its international network.
Speaking at the TRENZ 2023 tourism event in Christchurch, NZ CEO Greg Foran said, “Our fleet investment, capacity update, and marketing spend represent a significant commitment to New Zealand’s tourism industry.
“By investing in new and retrofitted aircraft, adding more seats to our international routes, and increasing our marketing presence in key markets, we’re making it even easier for visitors to tick New Zealand off their bucket lists.”
Skynest Sleeping Pods
The airline also revealed further details about its “game changer” economy class Skynest sleeping pods, first announced in June 2022.
From September 2024, the pods will be installed on several of its Boeing 787-9 fleet. These aircraft will be deployed on its flights from Auckland (AKL) to New York (JFK) and Chicago (ORD).
Six sleep pods will be configured in a bunk bed layout, providing passengers with ‘a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet, ventilation outlet, and lighting designed for rest.’ Customers can book a Skynest in four-hour blocks, with one session per passenger per flight.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, said, “Our 83-year history is marked by a commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. SkyNest is the latest example, and we’re proud to be leading the way with this world-first cabin feature.
“With our ultra-long haul routes to destinations such as New York and Chicago, Skynest provides a unique and innovative way for our passengers to rest and recharge, making their journey with us even more enjoyable. By launching Skynest on these routes, we are bringing to life our commitment to providing choice, alongside the best possible experience for our passengers, and to continue to innovate and lead the way in the aviation industry.
“We’re still working through the exact details of how the booking process will work, and we have yet to determine the price. At this stage are looking at around $400 to $600 for the four-hour period.”
Featured Image: Air New Zealand (ZK-NZN) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways.