Air New Zealand to upgrade entire Boeing 777-200 fleet this year

By David Flynn, January 14 2014

UPDATE | Air New Zealand has pushed back a fleet-wide refit of its Boeing 777-200 jets until the second half of 2015 – read our story for details.

PREVIOUS | Air New Zealand plans to overhaul all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200 jets this year with new seats from tip to tail, plus an all-new touchscreen inflight entertainment system, as the Kiwi carrier bolsters its international fleet.

"We have a complete refurbishment happening this year of our Boeing 777-200s" Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon confirmed to Australian Business Traveller during a briefing on the airline's forthcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

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

"These are 2005-2006 age aircraft, so they're still quite new. We're going to reconfigure them along the same lines as the Boeing 777-300 and our new 787-9 Dreamliners" Luxon said of the upgrade, which is costed at over NZ$100 million (A$92 million) and will include lie-flat beds in business class plus the innovative economy Skycouch (seen below).

"The exciting thing for us is we're going to end up with 25 widebody aircraft that all look and feel exactly the same" Luxon said.

"Whether you're going to Hong Kong or Shanghai, to Los Angeles or San Francisco, the customer experience is going to be consistent, and that's been a big drive of ours."

Well, maybe not exactly the same: while AirNZ's flagship 777-300 jets will feature the airline’s unique premium economy Spaceseat, the 777-200 refit will adopt the more conventional premium economy seat (seen below) used in the Boeing 787.

"Yes, they do have a different premium economy" Luxon allowed, "but the ratings on this (new) seat are fantastic – they are comparable to what we get on the Boeing 777-300."

"This premium economy going onto the 787-9 will also be going on the 777-200 refurb, so there will be 18 aircraft with this new premium economy and seven, all of our 777-300s, remain with the current Spaceseat configuration."

The premium economy seat of Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-200 and 787-9 is supplied by airline seat manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace and is the same base model as Cathay Pacific's premium economy.

However, all of AirNZ's premium economy seats will include the integrated footrest which Cathay Pacific limits to seats in only the front row of its cabin.

Panasonic's new touchscreen eXlite inflight entertainment system will also be installed in all seats, making Air New Zealand the first customer for the low-power lightweight kit.

Panasonic Avionics describes traits of the eXlite as "elegant industrial design, seamless interior integration, capacitive touch, proximity sensors, incredible viewing angles, and next-generation processors. It also has a streamlined architecture that reduces weight and cost."

Depending on how airlines want the eXlite configured the system's apps can include seat-to-seat chat as well as inflight Internet access to Facebook, Twitter and email.

In addition to receiving the first three of 10 Dreamliners this year, Air New Zealand will also pick up two more Boeing 777-300 jets.

"The Boeing 777-300s will continue to point into North America" Luxon says, with the Dreamliners predominately flying into Asia and the 777-200s flying "a mix of North America and Asia routes".

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David

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.

06 Jan 2014

Total posts 4

Any word if they're going up to 10 abreast in the economy cabin on their 777-200's like they are on their 777-300?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

>"The exciting thing for us is we're going to end up with 25 widebody aircraft that all look and feel exactly the same. Whether you're going to Hong Kong or Shanghai, to Los Angeles or San Francisco, the customer experience is going to be consistent, and that's been a big drive of ours."

That seems to be code for "yes". 

So is the fact that they don't say otherwise in this press release.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

"Upgrade", riiiiiight.

Passengers will love the new feeling of togetherness that you only get by being crammed ten abreast in a fuselage designed for nine. 

Air New Zealand has been my airline of choice across the Pacific for some years, but with this "upgrade" and the presumably-imminent retirement of the 747 I guess I'll be looking at VA or DL. (At least until they decide to "upgrade" too...)

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

10abreast is fast becomming the 'standard' arrangement across many airlines' 777s.. AIRNZ should seize the moment and market' the ENTIRE Y/C cabin as 'cuddle class' as you've got no choice but to cuddle your seatmates on a 10abreast Y/C..hehe

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 125

Going trans-Pacific in Y on the -300 must be absolute torture.  Even the A320 is not great - 17" on NZ vs. 18" on Air Asia/Philippines/easyjet/etc.  What's the deal with that?

It really says something when the most spacious economy seats in your fleet are on the Beechcraft 1900D!  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 169

Great to see. I really like ANZ's service.

That being said, I'm not sure I'd want to be in Y 10 abreast. I'm glad we won't be doing that.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

gotta laugh when the word 'exactly' really means 'well, not quite the same'... keeping 2 very different P/Y seats is a minus in my books...also i fear the 9abreast will become 10abreast in Y/C.  These a/c currently have a 9abreast P/Y AND 9abreast Y/C, so logic to me suggests the 'refurb' will include a 10abreast Y/C (to give commonality across the 777 type) and make the 9abreast P/Y look more appealing!! all speculation on my part

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

They'll definitely go for the ten abreast torture chamber in economy. Premium economy will presumably be eight abreast, givent that this is the same seat that CX puts eight abreast in its own 777s.

That ought to be reasonably comfy. It's a shame it'll be twice the price of regular economy, though, while offering 1.5 times the space (and a ten-buck better meal).

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

my mistake..yes P/Y 8abreast is more the 'norm' ... even more appealing!! pricing is not an exact science..there are many Y/C and P/Y price points (ranging from 'sale fares' to 'full fares' everything inbetween) sometimes a full fare Y/C comes very close to a sale fare P/Y in the same travel period..all depends on supply/demand 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

Glad they're upgrading them

Flew to YVR on 777-200, where the interior is getting old and small screen (with the badly placed remote on the arm rest where your sitting position can by accident push the buttons)

Had a taste of the newish interior on the A320 from SYD to AKL (bigger backseat touch screen with USB and touch screen)

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

10 abreast is too much. Im currently in a position where I need to book a flight YVR-AKL-SYD for August. I can either take a chance and hope to get the old config on the 772 or just take the short hop to SFO and jump on the old work horse 747. Decisions!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

Sounds like code for we're dumping the PE SpaceSeat

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

AIRNZ have already stated they keeping the PE spaceseat on their existing 777-300

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 43

But will it feature on their 2 new 777-300s being delivered this year?

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

good point...i missed the 2 new 773s coming this year...hmmmm lets see what happens with them!! im betting the 'new' P/E (a la 772)  will be installed..thus another 777 config!!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

The new 777-300s will have the Spaceseat.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

When will the refurbishment happen (i.e. when the first aircraft will be refurbished)? Did Air New Zealand give you a date? Travelling Y AKL - HKG on February 9 and hoping to see the old configuration.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 285

I love this site, and hate that my first post is going to be about a grammar issue. I hate grammar nazi's so please accept my apologies David.

"Air New Zealand plans to overhaul its all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200"

"It's all eight of its" just doesn't work, surely it should be "Air New Zealand plans to overhaul its entire fleet of eight long-range Boeing 777-200"

again, sorry

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

15 Jan 2014

Total posts 1

Just a small point:

It's "grammar nazis" not "grammar nazi's"

A simpler modification would be "Air New Zealand plans to overhaul all eight of its long-range Boeing 777-200"

:)

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 1

Has the upgrade for ANZ 777/200 happened yet and will the Auckland - Vancouver route be on the new refit by late August 2014?


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