Air New Zealand orders up Airbus A320neo, A321neo jets

By David Flynn, June 2 2014
Air New Zealand orders up Airbus A320neo, A321neo jets

Air New Zealand will buy thirteen Airbus A320neo and A321neo jets to sharpen its competitive edge against Qantas on the trans-Tasman market.

The order, estimated to be worth over A$1.5 billion at list prices, is seen as another step in the Kiwi carrier's fleet renewal, complementing the role of the Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-300ER for long-range international flights.

Read: Air New Zealand gears up for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s debut 

Air New Zealand says the mix of its new 'neo' fleet has yet to be finalised but will include a minimum of three A321neo aircraft.

The first A321neo is due in late 2017 with the remainder delivered through to 2019. 

The jets will replace Air New Zealand’s current fleet of 13 A320s which mainly ply its Australia-New Zealand routes, where Qantas has opted for a fleet of Boeing 737-800s.

According to Airbus the A320neo can typically seat between 164 and 180 passengers in a single economy-class configuration, with around 150 passengers if a premium cabin is added.

The stretched A321neo can pack in 199 to 236 passengers in an all-economy layout.

Air New Zealand currently offers only economy class on its trans-Tasman flights, with 168 economy seats on its A320s, and says its A321neo aircraft will have an additional 38 more seats over its A320s, some of which may be used to add a small business class cabin.

Read: Air New Zealand eyes business class for Airbus A321neo trans-Tasman flights

Airbus is pitting the A320neo family against Boeing's 737 MAX, both of which are 'step-change' versions of the single-aisle jets which are for many airlines – among them Qantas and Virgin Australia – the backbone of their domestic fleet.

Both the A320neo and 737 MAX partner new high-efficiency engines with refined aerodynamics – including new wingtip designs – to deliver a claimed 15 percent saving on fuel, along with lower operating costs and reduced noise.

Qantas signed up for 78 of the A320neo jets in 2011, with the first headed for low-cost offshoot Jetstar – which already flies the A320 –  from 2016.

For its part, Virgin Australia inked an order for 23 of Boeing's 737MAX jets to be delivered from 2019 through to 2021, which will replace its current fleet of Boeing 737-800s on most domestic Australian flights.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1244

I guess NZ didn't want to go with an all-Boeing fleet (disregarding their turboprops)...

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

I think it's more a case of them being very happy with the current fleet.  It's impossible not to make money with the A320 unless you have no idea what you're doing.

A small business cabin with 8 seats (maybe 12 on the 321) at 42" pitch would be nice, thanks.  And please ensure that they have a decent footrest. 

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

Can anyone fault ANZ at the moment? They seem to do everything the right way at the moment!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 735

Faults with Air New Zealand:

1. Conversion to godawful ten-abreast economy 777 configuration 

2. Still a crummy frequent flyer program, and crummy earning on partner programs.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

@ Hugo. I recently took a trip with ANZ on 773 dreading their ten-abreast economy, turns out my negative expectations were nothing to worry about. Im 6ft 100Kg so naturally Im quite picky on who I fly based on their economy product. I would rate it a more pleasant experience then flying QANTAS on the upper deck in economy. It's a preference thing I guess.

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