Air New Zealand joins Qantas Airways in evaluating both the 777X and A350 for its future widebody needs. Air NZ is an all-Boeing operator for its long haul fleet, but Airbus has been eager to promote the A350. Air NZ's 777-200ERs are approaching mid-life, and Air NZ wants new aircraft to take advantage of the latest efficiencies and, in particular, range capabilities as it seeks new markets in the Americas.
Air New Zealand wants to fly further in North America and South America than Houston and Buenos Aires. North America is Air NZ's largest long haul market, and is bigger than Asia.
For North America, a nonstop flight to New York is the obvious candidate and one the New Zealand government has wanted – even looking for fifth freedom operators to fly Auckland-New York (Qantas will consider this for the next decade). The US market is helped by Air NZ's United partnership.
Other South American points will be further, and mean that Air NZ needs to find a new partner. The airline's situation is unlike that of Qantas, and a nonstop flight to London is not on the cards.
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