Air New Zealand to replace domestic Boeing 737-300s with Airbus A320s
As part of the agreement Air New Zealand also has secured purchase rights for a further 11 aircraft.
“Subject to final contract, the first A320 aircraft will arrive in January 2011, with the fleet to be progressively introduced through until 2016 coinciding with the expiry of 737 aircraft leases,” says Air New Zealand Group General Manager Short Haul Airline Bruce Parton.
“This is a very good time to buy aircraft. The industry is at the bottom of a deep cycle so demand for aircraft is limited, creating favourable conditions for buyers with strong balance sheets like Air New Zealand,” says Mr Parton.
“This is a very exciting time for Air New Zealand when you consider we will be introducing 777-300s, 787-9s and now also A320s into our fleet during the first half of the next decade. It will ensure the airline continues to have one of the youngest fleets in the world, and a world-beating product across the entire jet fleet.”
Mr Parton says Air New Zealand’s existing fleet of 12 A320 aircraft is performing well on the airline’s short haul international network and moving to one single-aisle jet aircraft type across both domestic and short haul networks will deliver efficiencies in fuel burn, maintenance, training, spares holding and fleet management.
The larger aircraft will enable Air New Zealand to increase capacity on routes that are beginning to face capacity constraints at some airports during peak times.
“While we will have one common single-aisle jet fleet, there will be separate configurations for the domestic and short haul international fleets, reflecting the different needs of customers on those routes,” says Mr Parton.