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Air NZ to order 777-200 replacement by next April

Air New Zealand is aiming to place an order in March or April 2019 for Boeing 787s, 777Xs or Airbus A350s to replace its eight 777-200s, and potentially establish a pathway to replace its -300ERs later on.

Speaking at the airline’s investor day, chief financial officer Jeff McDowall says it has been evaluating information provided by Boeing and Airbus, and is moving forward with plans to issue a request for proposals.

“We’ll be issuing an RFP next month, and we then expect the discussion, the evaluation of all of that and the negotiations to wrap up around March-April next year. Then the first aircraft to arrive in the second half of calendar 2022,” he says.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier’s eight Rolls-Royce Trent 800-powered 777-200s are 11-12 years old, with half of them leased from AerCap. It also has one other 777-200 that is on a short-term lease from Boeing Capital, covering part of its 787 fleet that has been affected by the increased maintenance demands on its Trent 1000 engines.

McDowall adds that there are “no bad choices” among the three aircraft being evaluated, but as each are optimised for different missions, the chosen type would be “deployed in a slightly different way, and would cause us to deploy the existing fleet in slightly different ways.”

He adds that whatever aircraft it chooses now will open up the pathway to replace its 777-300ERs over the longer-term.

“If you think towards the end of this decade, we will then have the opportunity to consider replacement options for the 777-300 fleet, so we need to make sure that any decisions we make right now, think about the options that we have then, and taking the two together give us the fleet for the long term.”

Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier's seven 777-300ERs are between three and seven years old.

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