Air New Zealand’s newly-delivered Boeing 787-9 made its first visit to Australia on Friday when the aircraft, ZK-NZE, flew a return Auckland-Sydney-Auckland proving flight.
It was ZK-NZE’s first flight since arriving on delivery into Auckland on July 11. Operating as flight NZ6021 it departed Auckland at 15:10 and touched down in Sydney at 16:33. The return flight, NZ6022, departed Sydney at 18:16 and landed back in Auckland at 22:39.
Sydney will see the first Air New Zealand 787 commercial service some time in early August, with the airline planning to substitute the 787 in place of existing aircraft on the route to allow it to build up experience with operating the aircraft.
“We haven’t set a date for that yet, it will be very early in August at some stage,” Air New Zealand’s director for aircraft programs, Kerry Reeves, told Australian Aviation during the July 11 delivery flight.
“We’ll operate Auckland-Sydney for a few weeks. That’s the optimum sector length to qualify our crews as fast as we can,” he said, in comments reported in the August issue of the magazine.
Air New Zealand has announced Perth will be the 787’s first scheduled destination from October 15.
But, said Reeves: “We will actually operate to Perth before that, but that is the date we’ve guaranteed that we’ll have this aircraft on Perth. So by that date we will have two aircraft, we’ll have the second one in service, and so we just want to make sure that because we are selling it in the schedule as the 787 that we have the comfort level that we will actually be able to operate that schedule.”
An eight page feature on Air New Zealand’s 787-9 appears in the August issue of Australian Aviation, on sale from Thursday this week.