Air New Zealand remains confident that Boeing's stretched 787-9 Dreamliner will make its debut in little over a year from now, despite ongoing issues with the aircraft's batteries.
The Kiwi flag-carrier is Boeing's global launch customer for the 787-9, which Boeing says can seat up to 290 passengers across three classes compared to the baseline 210-250 headcount (or should that be bumcount?) of the 787-8.
Speaking after yesterday's release of the airline's half-year financial report, Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon allowed that he'd be less relaxed "if I was taking delivery of those aircraft in the next three to six months."
But with the 787-9 slated for mid-2014 "we are very confident" of Boeing hitting the delivery schedule for the first of ten 787-9s, which will replace older Boeing 767-300ERs currently used on medium-haul international routes such as to Australia and Japan, as well as launching new long-haul routes.
Luxon's line echoes that of former CEO Rob Fyfe, who almost a year ago said that "we strongly believe the 787-9 is the right aircraft for Air New Zealand and worth the wait."
The airline is now locking down the seating layout for its Dreamliner fleet, which an Air NZ spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller would be done by "midyear, probably."
Each 787-9 will sport a three-class configuration of Business Premier business class, premium economy (using the airline's award-winning Spaceseat) and Economy, with Fyfe last year confirming that "the fitout that we're looking to deploy is consistent with the fitout on our Boeing 777-300 today."
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