Air New Zealand is switching its Auckland-Buenos Aires service from the Boeing 777-200ER to the 787-9 from October 30.
While the move represents an overall reduction of 10 seats per flight, from 312 for the 777 to 302 for the 787-9, there will be a change in the mix of seats across business, premium economy and economy.
Air New Zealand’s Dreamliners have a larger economy cabin featuring 263 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, compared with 246 seats laid out 3-4-3 across on board the 777.
However, the 787-9s have just 18 business and 21 premium economy seats versus the 777’s more premium heavy 26 business and 40 premium economy seats.
In addition to the aircraft change, Air NZ said on Wednesday it planned to add a fourth weekly Auckland-Buenos Aires flight during the peak summer period between December 12 and February 27.
Currently, the Star Alliance member flies to Argentina three times a week.
“Forward bookings originating from both New Zealand and Australia, and Argentina, are looking very positive and the additional peak season service will give customers more flexibility,” Air New Zealand chief commercial and sales officer Cam Wallace said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The 12-hour average flight time for the Auckland–Buenos Aires service is well suited to the Dreamliner and customers will enjoy the benefits of the higher humidity and lower cabin altitude to help them arrive feeling more refreshed.”
Air NZ launched service to Buenos Aires in December 2015. The inaugural flight, operated by 777-200ER ZK-OKC, gave Air NZ the title of being the first airline to operate a flight under 330-minute extended operations (ETOPS) approval rules.
Boeing’s 787 has also received certification for 330-minute ETOPS, while the Airbus A350 has European Aviation Safety Agency certification to fly up to six hours and 10 minutes (370 minutes) away from a potential diversion airport in the event of a single engine failure.