Air New Zealand orders four more aircraft as demand grows swiftly

by James Wilkinson

Air New Zealand has announced as part of the airline’s stellar 2023 annual results this week that it will be welcoming two new ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft and two new Airbus A321 aircraft into its fleet from late 2024 adding 768,000 seats per year.

In response to high demand across the airline’s regional network, these two additional 68-seat ATR aircraft will boost capacity by more than 5,700 seats per week and fly customers to regional destinations like Tauranga, Nelson and Gisborne.

The two new 214-seat Airbus A321neo aircraft will be configured for international flying and will serve Tasman and Pacific Island routes.

They’ll add more than 9,000 seats per week to the network, ensuring the airline has more capacity across the Tasman than any other airline, giving customers great choice at competitive prices.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran, said the additional aircraft are another step to meet demand for travel, growing the airline’s domestic and short haul networks by adding capacity where it’s needed most.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“Our customers have supported us as we’ve rebuilt Air New Zealand and we know it’s important to offer a range of fares that are accessible to all New Zealanders. Investing in new aircraft means more seats available at more times and at reasonable prices.

“Domestically we’re almost back to pre-Covid capacity, flying an average of 425 flights per day to 20 destinations across Aotearoa. These new aircraft mean that our domestic airline will be the larger than it’s ever been.

“We also have two previously announced domestic A321neo aircraft due for delivery in the next 12 months. We’re pulling every lever we have to get more seats in the sky, as quickly and as safely possible,” Foran said.

The A321neo aircraft are the most fuel efficient narrowbody aircraft available today while the ATR72-600 will be delivered with the most recent variant of the engine which has the potential to provide a 3% fuel burn improvement compared with the previous generation.

Air New Zealand aircraft and crew will be returning to its Auckland-Perth route on 29 October after a period of operation in partnership with Spanish airline, Wamos Air. The airline will continue operating daily services to Perth, with more than 2,000 seats a week available.

These additional four aircraft mean the airline has a total of 16 aircraft joining the fleet including eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus A321 and two ATR72-600, all scheduled for delivery between 2024 – 2028.

The airline will be soon announcing further details on a leased Boeing 777-300ER, which will add 3,000 more seats per week to its international network, which would bring the total 777-300 fleet to eight.