Air New Zealand has become the first airline in the world to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9 with the airline’s first of 10 on order touching down at Auckland Airport on Friday afternoon.
787-9 ZK-NZE (line number 169), operating as flight NZ6789, took off from Paine Field, Everett shortly before 8am Thursday morning local time, touching down in Auckland 13 hours and 27 minutes late at 4.22pm on Friday.
After being towed into the airline’s Technical Operations base at Auckland, the 787 was welcomed by more than 50 Air New Zealand staff who performed a haka.
“Being on the flightdeck on the delivery flight of this magnificent 787-9 aircraft to Air New Zealand has been a career highlight. Like the Boeing 747-400 in the 1980s this aircraft really is a game-changer for the airline and our customers,” said chief flight operations and safety officer, Captain David Morgan, one of four Air New Zealand aircrew who operated the delivery flight.
The aircraft will now be used for a series of training and proving flights before entering revenue service in August when it will operate ad hoc Auckland-Sydney services. From mid-October, by which stage the airline’s second 787 will have been delivered, the 787-9s will operate regular Auckland-Perth services. 787 services to Shanghai and Tokyo are also planned before the end of the year.
A full report on the aircraft’s entry into service with Air New Zealand will feature in the August issue of Australian Aviation.