Air New Zealand Takes Delivery of First Boeing 787-9

Air New Zealand 787-9

The fuselage is painted dress-shoe black with a white fern along its sides and the words Air New Zealand in white lettering. On the tail is the airline’s insignia koru, also in white. It’s the first of ten 787-9 Dreamliners joining Air New Zealand’s fleet.

This stretched version of the Boeing 787-8 arrived about four years late for its coming out party. But no one is complaining. Not today.

New Zealand’s flagship carrier, the global launch customer for the 787-9, is flying the aircraft home to Auckland today (July 10) after Boeing showed it off to more than 1,000 employees and airline representatives from New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan at the Future of Flight Museum in Everett, Wash.

Even the music group The Band Perry joined the celebrations.

“It’s a big night for us all, seeing the plane come out of the hangar here,” Air New Zealand captain David Morgan told CNN. “I’m very excited to be able to get my hands on this aircraft and proudly fly it back to New Zealand.”

Beginning in October, the Rolls-Royce powered aircraft will ferry back and forth across the Tasman Sea between Auckland and Perth. Air New Zealand also will use 787-9s between Auckland and Shanghai and Tokyo later in the year.

“We are proud to be the launch customer for the 787-9,” said Air New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Rob McDonald said in a press release. “We believe it will be a game-changer for Air New Zealand, with increased levels of fuel efficiency and passenger comfort.”

The carrier expects to have all 10 of its 787-9 within a year.

Air New Zealand began in 1965 after morphing into a national airline with government ownership and receiving its first DC-8. Earlier carriers included Union Airways of N.Z. that started operations in 1936, followed by Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), which made its inaugural flight in 1940.

Next week, at the massive Farnborough International Airshow, another one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9 aircraft will be on display. The aircraft is capable of carrying 280 passengers 9,000 miles with about 20 per cent better fuel economy than the comparable 767.

There are at least another 26 airlines waiting for delivery of the 787-9. So far orders have reached a total of 409, about 40 percent of all 787 orders. It is the first airliner to be made of carbon fiber, not aluminum.

The 787 family is honeycombed with improved design features such as larger, dimmable windows and in-cabin LED lighting. The cabin air is pulled from outside rather than through engines. The air is also supposedly more humid and at a lower air pressure than other aircraft, making it a more comfortable experience for passengers.

And the re-designed powerful lithium-ion battery is enclosed in a newly designed steel containment box.

The Tarmac’s View: This aircraft opens up opportunities for new routes for Air New Zealand. The 787-9 has a stretched the 787-8 fuselage by 20 feet and can be configured to haul an additional 40 more passengers. Boeing says the range is extended another 500 miles while boasting of 20 percent less fuel burn compared to similar sized aircraft. But Airbus A330s, with a NEO (new engine option) might prove that claim untrue.

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Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • CDKing at 7:47pm July 10, 2014

    I’m already booked on it for May 2015 AKL-PVG

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