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AIR NEW ZEALAND: Back in the air – international routes, frequent flyer upgrade and new business class product?

AIR NEW ZEALAND: Back in the air – international routes,  frequent flyer upgrade and new business class product?

Air New Zealand did it tough during the 2 years of the country’s total pandemic isolation. This July, it gets back 14 international routes launched over 16 days. This will bring the airline back to about 60% of pre-pandemic international capacity.

From 9 July 2022, its Boeing 777-300 aircraft will be brought out of storage and start flying passengers to destinations like Honolulu, Houston and Tahiti after 820 days of non-operation.

“We’ve hired or rehired more than 2,000 Air New Zealanders across the business including 150 pilots, more than 500 cabin crew, and 270 airport employees, with another 1100 vacancies to be filled.”

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran

The Schedule

Here is the schedule for the restart of international routes:

Auckland toStarting onFrequency to Oct 2022
Honolulu4 July3 per week
Tahiti6 July2 per week
New Caledonia6 July2 per week
Houston7 July3 per week
Adelaide6 July3-4 per week
Cairns5 July3 per week
Hobart7 July2 per week
Sunshine Coast9 July2 per week
Gold Coast3 July4-2 per week
Nadi5 July3-2 per week
Nadi5 Jul3-2 per week
Brisbane24 June4-3 per week
Melbourne24 June7-6 per week
Sydney25 June9-5 per week

Improvements to Airpoints frequent flyer scheme?

ET is reporting that Air New Zealand’s Airpoints scheme is about to add a new elite+ tier (like Qantas’s Platinum One) as well as lifetime Elite, Gold and Silver status, and an AirNZ branded credit card.

These changes to be rolled out in 2023 were given weight by a survey conducted with elite Airpoints members in November 2022. They are likely to include other premium benefits like discounted upgrades and upgrade requests with immediate confirmation.

29 June Event

Air NZ is also touting ‘After 5 years, the doors of Hanger 22 are finally opening’ on 29 June in a twitter post:

Hanger 22 is Air NZ’s innovations facility, where they developed their now infamous new business class product, and associated with the airlines ‘Economy Skynest’ bunk-bed prototype, allowing economy passengers to lie flat in ‘sleep pods’.

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‘Sleep Pods’ developed by Air New Zealand

The bet is it will be the announcement of its new Business Class product with sliding doors slated for installation in its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Some images have already been leaked from a submission to the US Department of Transport earlier this year.

a woman in a pink dress
Herringbone with doors and accessibility modifications?
a blueprint of a building
DOT submission – AirNZ Business cabin plan

Dubbed ‘Business Premier Luxe’, the airline requested that it receive approval/certification before 29 April 2022. Looks like they are eager to have them ready prior to the launch of the new nonstop Auckland to New York service slated for September 2022. Besides doors, the design is meant to be disability friendly with accessibility advantages as detailed in the DOT submission.

a white seat in a plane
Previous underwhelming herringbone Air NZ 787 business class seat

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Air New Zealand has punched above its weight in terms of innovation for a long time, starting with their premium economy Spaceseats, SkyCouch economy seats, the Sleepnest bunk beds concept, and now a new accessible herringbone business seat with privacy doors. Occasionally they miss-fire, the 787 herringbone seats are an example

We only need to hold out breaths for less than another 24 hours to hear the news.

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