FARNBOROUGH: Air New Zealand 787s to feature new cabin products

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Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will bring new cabin products to a number of its Asian and South Pacific routes once the aircraft enters commercial service in October.

Victoria Bamford, the airline’s head of aircraft interiors and customer experience, tells Flightglobal that the 787s will deliver its popular Skycouch economy product and fully flat Business Premier seat to new markets.

Skycouch features a leg rest that extends upwards to create a larger horizontal space across a row of three economy seats. The 787s will feature 14 rows of Skycouch seating, and will be deployed on routes across Asia and the Pacific.

“It’s exciting for us that it actually extends the offerability of the Skycouch product first to Perth, then Narita and Shanghai,” she says. “Later on, by 2015, we’ll be running the 787s through Honolulu and Tahiti. They are some fantastic markets for us to have the Skycouch on.”

Bamford adds that the product – which is on its 777-300ERs and will be retrofitted to its eight -200ERs – has been particularly popular with families. The carrier has also licensed the concept to Taiwan’s China Airlines, and Bamford says talks are under way with one European and one South American operator.

The 787s will also feature a slightly modified version of the fully flat Business Premier seats, which are based on Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class offering. Air New Zealand has been operating the seats since 2005 on its 777s and as the 787s replace 767s on Asian and Pacific routes will introduce lie-flat seats to those markets.