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Air New Zealand picks Boeing 787-10 to replace 777-200ER fleet

written by WOFA | May 27, 2019

A supplied image of what a Boeing 787-10 would look like in Air New Zealand livery. (Air New Zealand)
A supplied image of what a Boeing 787-10 would look like in Air New Zealand livery. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand has signed a letter of intent to purchase eight Boeing 787-10s with options for a further 12 aircraft.

The airline said on Monday the first 787-10 would be arrive in late 2022, with deliveries to run through to 2027.

The aircraft will replace Air New Zealand’s fleet of eight Boeing 777-200ERs, which will be withdrawn by 2025.

Air New Zealand currently operates 13 787-9s – with a 14th due later in 2019 – powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

However, the airline has chosen the GEnx-1B powerplants for the 787-10.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the largest variant of the 787 family of aircraft would offer 15 per cent more space for passengers and cargo and would open up new opportunities for growth.

“The game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet,” Luxon said in a statement.



Air New Zealand said the order with Boeing and GE included substitution rights that allowed the airline to switch from the larger 787-10 aircraft to smaller 787-9s, or take a combination of the two models, for future fleet and network flexibility.

Further, it said the delivery schedule could be delayed or accelerated according to market demand.

Boeing vice president of commercial sales and marketing for Asia Pacific Christy Reese said: “This is a bold decision by the airline and will help carry forward the ambitions of Air New Zealand for many years to come.”

GE Aviation vice president of global sales and marketing Jason Tonich said: “The GEnx engine is the leading engine of choice on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with world-class utilisation, reliability and fuel efficiency that will benefit Air New Zealand and its customers.”

Air New Zealand had been evaluating the 787, 777X and Airbus A350 for the replacement of its 777-200ER fleet since 2018.

A file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER. (Victor Pody)
A file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER. (Victor Pody)

The eight 777-200ERs are configured with 312 seats, comprising 26 in business in a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access for every passenger, 40 in premium economy at eight abreast and 246 in economy at 10 across.

The aircraft, which are mainly used on long-haul services to the Americas and Asia, as well as select trans-Tasman routes, were delivered between 2006 and 2007, making them between 12 and 13 years of age.

The largest Air New Zealand widebody is the 777-300ER, of which the airline has seven. These aircraft have 342 seats (44 business, 54 premium economy and 244 economy).

A file image of a Boeing 777-300ER in Air New Zealand colours at Los Angeles Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Boeing 777-300ER in Air New Zealand colours at Los Angeles Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Andrew Aley)
An file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Andrew Aley)

The third widebody in the fleet is the 787-9, which comes in two configurations. The first configuration has 302 seats, again in three classes, while a second configuration has 275 seats due to a higher proportion of business and premium economy seats.

The Boeing website lists the 787-10 as having 6,430nm of range with 330 passengers in a two-class configuration, while the 787-9 has 7,635nm of range with 290 passengers, again in a two-class layout.

Meanwhile, the 777-200ER is listed with a range of 7,065nm with 313 passengers in two classes.

Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliances officer Nick Judd said in June 2018 the airline was also working on having an aircraft capable of nonstop flights from Auckland to New York and other points in the Americas.

“We want to try and get to New York, we want to get deeper into South America and so we’re very interested in the shape of these ULR ultra long range aircraft that are coming out,” Judd said at the time.

VIDEO: An Air New Zealand-produced video of chief executive Christopher Luxon and chief operational integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan discussing the airline’s decision to order the Boeing 787-10.


  • AMcG


    Obviously no surprises sticking with Boeing and the 787-10 was always aimed at the 777-200ER market. Will Air NZ end up with a bigger 787 fleet than Qantas?

  • Marc-Andre Borloz


    Question is, will Qantas 787-10 to replaced the a330-200/300

  • Tony Pearce


    No surprise I guess though looking at the statistics for 787, 777 and A350 the A350 looked like it met ANZ’s requirements better than the Boeing aircraft currently availabe. The 787-10 won’t make Auckland to New York so maybe they’ll either stick with trhe 787-9 or look at the new generation 777’s to do that.
    Possibly Airbus is the victim of only having RR engines available for the A350 given the problems ANZ has experienced with the Trent engines.

  • Patrickk


    I suspect QF will use the 787-10 to replace the A333/2 especially if the range has Ben pushed out to 7000nm. This would make Brisbane LA possible, as well as the nether reaches of Asia.

  • KYNE


    smart choice and likely when 777-8 / 9 is proven Air NZ will select to replace 777-300ER. New routes touted and expected GRU / EWR

  • craigy


    I think Qantas looking at the NMA as a A330 replacement for both domestic and flights into Asia, if Boeing go ahead with it. Qantas has said in the past that the number of 787 aircraft for the Qantas fleet is optimal at around 18 if memory serves me correctly. With 14 currently in or ordered, that leaves another 4. Qantas has also said the winner of Project Sunrise won’t be just ultra long rage but needs to fit in with the current network and new opportunities.

  • Alex


    Qantas will decided whatcsircraft to order only when the current CEO departs.. maintaining profit by delaying expenditure on aircraft has been his legacy.. eventually qantas will have to upgrade its domestic fleet. Over last few years qantas announce future aircraft and route ideas then delay them again and again.. it has sold catering ,frequent flyer program. And even its terminals at Brisbane sydney and melbourne.. all to prop up profit.

    Eventually an airline like lufthansa will realise it can fly its a350 from Frankfurt or rome direct to sydney or melbourne.. and make travel to Europe via another port obsolete..

    Least air nz has a fleet renewal plan .. Qantas has aspirations and a few more boeing 787 Coming.

    As a side discussion point Google qantas melbourne to sydney.. if you check it daily you will see how many flights qantas cancel between melbourne to sydney daily.. is this a sign of aircraft reliability issues or is this a new policy of qantas cancelling flights and moving g passengers to other flights to lift load factors and cost cutting


    • Skystar


      The current ceo has not ordered any aircraft for mainline,the 787s were ordered by Dixon and the first batch went to the golden child Jetstar which has aircraft on order.When mainlne did receive them over six hundred were already in service around they world.The hard working staff at mainline have the pleasure of an additional three years of the ceo so more of the same.

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