Air New Zealand (ANZ) has issued a request for information (RFI) for narrowbodies to replace its 16 Boeing 737-300s used on domestic routes.

An ANZ spokesman in Auckland says the RFI has been issued to Airbus and Boeing and this will be followed by a request for proposals and then the Star Alliance carrier's board will select a winner by year-end.

The RFI asks for information on Airbus A320-family aircraft and different models of 737s, he says.

The carrier has 16 737-300s, five that it owns and 11 on lease, and it wants to start taking delivery of new aircraft in 2011 when the leases on the 737-300s start expiring, says the spokesman. He adds that the phase-out of the 737-300s is to be completed in 2016.

The 737-300s are 10 to 14 years old and the leased ones are from a mix of leasing companies including AWAS, International Lease Finance and Orix Aviation, according to Flight's ACAS database.

ANZ's spokesman declines to say how many aircraft it plans to order but ACAS says ANZ already has options for 20 A320s.

The spokesman confirms these options are due to expire in 2012.

It already operates 12 A320s on short-haul international routes but it also faces stiff competition in the domestic market from Pacific Blue and Jetstar, which operate 737-800s and A320s respectively.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news