MIAMI – Air New Zealand (NZ) announced it will ground all its Boeing 777 aircraft until September 2021. The decision comes as a response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Currently, New Zealand records a resurgence of cases, so the airline decided to take major actions. Previously, in May, it grounded various of its Boeing 777 following international travel restrictions.
The eight Boeing 777-200ER and eight -300ER aircraft are the largest ones in NZ’s fleet. Therefore, its long-haul routes will be operated by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A320, and A320/21neos from now on.
In its international scene, the carrier’s network recovery would be slower than initially expected, said NZ CCO Carrie Hurihanganui. In August, NZ recorded US$454Bbn in losses, expecting a major impact as international flying represented 70% of its revenue.
Air New Zealand will store its Boeing 777 fleet from late September in North American locations, which ideal arid conditions, and existing storage facilities to keep aircraft in conditions. The Boeing 777-200ER jets will go to storage at Roswell, New Mexico, and Victorville, California facilities.
On the other hand, three of the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will remain in Auckland, New Zealand while the other four will go to Victorville. With these decisions, all aircraft could return to service within six to eight weeks if required, said NZ.
Featured photo:Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER. Photo: Mehdi Nazarinia.