Air New Zealand to upgrade 777-200ER fleet

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Air New Zealand (ANZ) is investing more than NZ$100 million ($82.6 million) to upgrade its Boeing 777-200ER fleet.

Work on the eight aircraft is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014 and will be completed in a year. These aircraft entered ANZ's fleet in 2005 and are operated on international routes.

The upgrade will include new business class seats, matching those on its 777-300ER fleet, and the replacement of its premium economy and economy class seats.

ANZ will also be the launch customer for Panasonic Avionics' eXlite in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, which will be installed on the upgraded 777-200ERs. The system is Panasonic's lowest power and lightest IFE solution with a weight of about 1.45kg.

In addition, new elements of the carrier's brand refresh, seen on the interiors of its 777-300ER and Airbus A320 domestic fleet, will also be introduced on the -200ERs. The new livery will also be applied on an unspecified number of aircraft.

"With the introduction of the 777-300ERs over the past 18 months and the arrival of the 787-9s in mid-2014, the 777-200ER fleet will be upgraded to align the product across all of the three long-haul fleet types," Norm Thompson, the carrier's deputy chief executive, said in statement.