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Air NZ eyes full 787 operations by September

Air New Zealand expects its full fleet of Boeing 787-9s to be in service by the start of September as it eyes an end to the troubles caused by issues with the type's Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

Chief executive Christopher Luxon says that in the six months to December, up to five of the 787s were grounded due to ongoing maintenance issues with the engines, but that the situation has been improving.

“Currently we have two aircraft on the ground and from the first of April we expect that to be one, and by the first of September we expect that to be fully resolved,” he says on the Star Alliance carrier’s earnings call.

Luxon and chief financial officer Jeff McDowall note that the disruption caused by the 787’s engine issues contributed to a number of indirect costs that the airline had to bear during the first half. These mostly related to having to re-accommodate passengers due to the groundings causing a shortage of aircraft.

Luxon adds that the groundings also had a small impact on labour costs, due to lower productivity from its pilots and additional customer service costs.

Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier has 11 787-9s in service, plus the two grounded jets, in its fleet.

The engine issues with the 787 also forced Air NZ to lease two 777-200ER from Boeing Capital Corporation and a -300ER from EVA Air to provide interim capacity.

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