Air New Zealand says it will operate the Boeing 787-9 between Adelaide and Auckland on year-round basis following the successful introduction of the next generation widebody late last month.
The 787-9 was first deployed to Adelaide on October 26, initially as a seasonal offering three times a week running between October 2017 and March 2018.
However, Air New Zealand said on Wednesday it would keep the 787-9 on the route beyond March with the same three flights a week schedule as is the case currently. It said this represented a 30 per cent increase in capacity compared with the same time a year ago.
The Star Alliance member will also supplement the Dreamliner flights with an additional one or two services a week using Airbus A320 narrowbodies during peak travel periods.
Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said there had been a positive response to the introduction of the Dreamliner just over a month ago.
“We’ve seen strong demand for the premium inflight experiences available on our Dreamliner aircraft with both business premier and premium economy really resonating with customers,” Wallace said in a statement.
“It’s also great to be able to offer our South Australian customers travelling to North or South America a seamless premium travel experience from the moment they board in Adelaide through to the transit experience at our Auckland hub and onto their long haul flight.”
The Star Alliance member is the only airline offering nonstop flights between Adelaide and Auckland. The 787-9s used on the Adelaide route feature 18 business class seats with direct aisle access for every passenger, 21 premium economy at seven abreast and 263 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Adelaide is one of five Australian points where Air New Zealand has widebody services with either the Boeing 787-9, 777-200ER and/or 777-300ER, alongside Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
The New Zealand flag carrier has focused heavily on boosting international transfer passengers in recent times, with a particular emphasis on capturing a larger share of Australians heading to the Americas, where it serves six destinations – Buenos Aires, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Efforts have included sale fares of less than $1,000 for a return ticket to the US, as well as the use of more widebodied services to ensure a consistent product offering on the trans-Tasman leg and the long-haul flight across the Pacific.