Air New Zealand to debut 787-9 on Auckland-Perth services

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Air New Zealand will debut its Boeing 787-9s on the Auckland-Perth route next year.

From 14 October 2014, the Star Alliance carrier will use 787s to replace the Boeing 777-200ERs presently used on the daily services between the two cities.

Following its debut on Perth services, the 787 will also be deployed on services from Auckland to Tokyo and Shanghai as they replace the carrier’s ageing Boeing 767-300ERs.

Chief executive Christopher Luxon says that the aircraft will be a “game changer” for the carrier and will be an important part of its “go beyond” growth plan.

“Not only is the 787-9 around 20 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft it’s replacing, it also sets a new benchmark for passenger comfort,” he adds.

Air New Zealand’s 10 787-9s will be configured with 302 seats, comprising 18 lie-flat seats in business class, 21 in premium economy and 263 in economy.

The economy section will also include 14 rows of the carrier’s proprietary Skycouch seats, which feature an extended foot rest that can be brought up to convert the seat row into a small bed.

Flightglobal's Ascend Online database indicates that the carrier will take delivery of three 787s in 2014, with the remaining seven to be delivered by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has also announced that it has licensed its Skycouch seat to an unnamed airline in Asia.

“We’re pleased to have signed this first agreement and we’re continuing to talk with other airlines about further licensing agreements,” says Luxon.