Air New Zealand has ordered two new 214-seat Airbus A321neos to fly its Tasman and Pacific Island routes.
The aircraft are set to arrive from late 2024 and will add more than 9,000 seats per week to its network.
The Kiwi flag carrier already has 10 A321s, with another four already confirmed to be on order, alongside eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners and two two ATR72-600. All are scheduled for delivery between 2024 – 2028.
Air New Zealand added that, more immediately, it would also introduce increased services on routes to and from Australia from October.
“Across the Tasman, Air New Zealand has 22 per cent more seats for Northern Winter (October 2023 – March 2024) compared with the same period last year,” the business said.
“During this period, the airline will add 25 per cent more seats on Christchurch-Brisbane and Wellington-Brisbane – that’s 25,000 extra seats between the cities.
“Wellington-Melbourne will increase 38 per cent and Wellington-Sydney up 7 per cent.
“More seats will be added from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Hobart.
“Air New Zealand aircraft and crew will be returning to its Auckland-Perth route on 29 October after a period of operation in partnership with Spanish airline Wamos Air.
“The airline will continue operating daily services to Perth, with more than 2,000 seats a week available.
“More broadly, across its international network, Air New Zealand will fly more than 75 flights a day across 36 global routes, with 560,000 extra seats on offer compared with the previous year for the Northern Winter period.
“In response to high demand across the regional network, the airline has also purchased two additional 68-seat ATR aircraft to boost capacity by almost 5,000 seats per week and fly customers across Aotearoa.”
It comes after Tasman rival Qantas said this week it would add 250,000 international seats to its network as it approaches 100 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, which it expects to reach in March 2024.
The Flying Kangaroo will use larger aircraft on several routes, including its three new 787 Dreamliners and its returned A380s, as well as increasing frequency on other routes.
The carrier is currently at around 80 per cent of its pre-pandemic international traffic.
Qantas will first replace 737s with A330s on its Sydney-Bali route from October.
Afterwards, starting in July 2024, Qantas A380s will operate for the first time between Sydney and Johannesburg; more A380 flights will increase capacity between Melbourne and Los Angeles by 20 per cent; and flights between Sydney and LA will increase from eight to nine per week using both 787s and A380s.
Finally, from August 2024, the Sydney–Auckland–New York route – which launched using 787s in June this year – will go from four per week to daily.
The increased frequency adds to previously-announced Qantas international routes to launch in October, including new services from Brisbane to Honiara and Wellington, and the resumption of services between Sydney and Shanghai after three years.