Air New Zealand’s jet fleet will remain stable at 51 aircraft in 2014/15, with seven new deliveries to be offset by the retirement of seven ageing aircraft.
New jet aircraft to arrive in the current financial year includes two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, one Boeing 777-300ER and four narrowbody Airbus A320s.
They will replace two 747-400s (ZK-SUH has already left the fleet while ZK-NBV is due to depart next month), and five 737-300s due to be retired in 2014/15.
The fleet plan was detailed in Air NZ’s full year financial results released on Wednesday.
The airline has earmarked $NZ2.2 billion in spending on aircraft over the next four years, including progress payments on aircraft and refurbishing the eight 777-200ER and 11 ATR72-500 in its fleet.
“This will land us in a fantastic position with a modern and highly efficient fleet perfectly configured for our network and with a great product for our customers,” Air NZ chief financial officer Rob McDonald said.
McDonald said the last of the 737-300s – which have 133 seats compared with 171 seats on Air NZ’s A320s flown domestically in New Zealand – would be retired by September 2015.
Air NZ took delivery of its first 787 in June and the aircraft was currently flying between Sydney and Auckland ahead of starting on the Perth-Auckland route in October.
The airline has said previously it planned to use initial delivers of the 10 Dreamliners it has on order to serve Tokyo, Shanghai and Perth.
Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon said the 787-9, with 263 economy, 21 premium economy and 18 business class seats, was a better fit for North Asian routes such as China than the 767-300ER, which had 206 economy, 24 business and no premium economy seats.
“There is a real opportunity for us to do better in yield management actually because the challenge we have had in China is that we have been flying the 767 into China and the cabin mix is obviously not what it is in a 777-200 or 787 configuration,” Luxon said.
“So there’s a real opportunity for us to do better at the front end of the aircraft going into China as well as obviously receiving the operating efficiencies around more fuel efficient aircraft as well.”
Separately, Air NZ’s ATR 72-600 turboprop fleet was projected to increase by three frames to seven.
Source: Air NZ investor presentation