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AIR NEW ZEALAND: New aircraft means 9,000 extra trans-Tasman seats per week from October 2023

AIR NEW ZEALAND: New aircraft means 9,000 extra trans-Tasman seats per week from October 2023

Qantas was not the only airline to report its finances last week. Air New Zealand dropped its financial results as well. The good news is that it is back to 94% capacity compared to pre-pandemic and its statutory earnings before tax were a positive NZ$ 574 million compared to an NZ$ 810 million loss in 2022.

Air NZ New Business Class rolled out in September 2024
New Business Class rolled out in September 2024 [Air NZ]

New Aircraft for Air New Zealand

The other good news is that Air NZ is taking delivery of some new Aircraft. As well as a couple of regional ATR72-600 turboprops, the real news is the arrival of two 214-seat Airbus A321neos. They will be configured for international flying to serve trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes. Trans-Tasman, in this context, means flights between New Zealand and Australia.

Those two A321s will add 9,000 seats per week to the network, with the majority added to the trans-Tasman routes.

“Flying continues to be in high demand, both here and around the world and it means prices have been higher than usual. The most effective thing we can do to help customers is to welcome more aircraft into our fleet and put more seats in the sky.

“While adding more seats is an important part of working to reduce prices, like all New Zealand businesses our costs continue to rise significantly in many areas, and the reality is that airfares are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.  

Greg Foran, Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer

Air New Zealand returns Auckland–Perth route

From 29 October, Air NZ will reinstate its direct Auckland to Perth route of 2,000 weekly seat. These will use Air NZ aircraft instead of the leased A320s from Spanish operator Wamos Air. Some will consider this a downgrade, considering Business Class’s reverse herringbone configuration on the Wamos planes.

More trans-Tasman services

Also, starting in October, Air NZ will increase services on routes to Australia across the Tasman until March 2024. An increase of 22% compared to 2022/23.

Some of that increase will be 25% more seats on Christchurch-Brisbane and Wellington-Brisbane totalling 25,000 extra seats between the cities.

Wellington-Melbourne will see an increase of 38%, and the Wellington-Sydney route up 7%. More seats will be added from Auckland to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

Business Class herringbone seats on B777s and B787s
Business Class herringbone seats on B777s and B787s [Air NZ]

2PAXfly Takeout

The A320s look like they will be in an all-economy configuration, which accounts for the 214 seats they boast. If you want business class, you must make it a flight on one of the airlines, Boeing B777s or B787-9s.

I haven’t flown with Air New Zealand for ages. I think the last time was when I went to Queenstown in 2009!

My flying plans in the next 12 months will get me to re-qualify for Qantas Platinum. I might start looking at booking the pleasures of Air NZ Business Class the next time I fly to Aotearoa.

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