AirNZ imports Spanish plane and crew for Perth-Auckland flights

Travellers will also see a new business class seat which many will prefer to the Kiwi carrier’s own effort.

By David Flynn, October 20 2022
AirNZ imports Spanish plane and crew for Perth-Auckland flights

Passengers setting foot on Air New Zealand’s daily flights between Perth and Auckland will soon  have a rather different travel experience to what they’re used to.

From November 15 2022 to February 16 2023, the six-hour route will be flown by an Airbus A330 leased from Spanish charter firm Wamos Air and staffed by Wamos’ European crew.

There’ll be also be a different business class seat – one which we expect many will prefer to Air New Zealand’s awkwardly-angled pews – with a full meal for every economy passenger, even if they’ve only booked a basic Seat or Seat+bag fare.

But premium economy and WiFi will be missing from the mix.

Air New Zealand says the short-term swap has been driven by skyrocketing demand for travel over the peak summer season, and is a “proactive” move to avoid problems caused by any shortfall of both aircraft and crew.

Air New Zealand will fly this leased Wamos Air A330 between Perth and Auckland over the peak summer season.
Air New Zealand will fly this leased Wamos Air A330 between Perth and Auckland over the peak summer season.

The Boeing 787 usually assigned to Perth-Auckland route will be kept on call as a spare “to maintain overall schedule stability.”

“We had none of that contingency available over the really busy July holiday period, and sometimes it caught us with disruptions and operational challenges,” Air New Zealand General Manager Short Haul, Jeremy O’Brien, tells Executive Traveller.

“So this provides us with a buffer against those unforeseen circumstances by freeing up an aircraft that can be brought in at short notice… it builds resilience into the network so that should things happen, we're able to recover really quickly.”

The A330 supplied by Madrid-based Wamos Air will come with its own crew, which in turn frees up more Air New Zealand pilots and cabin crew while the airline continues to recruit and train up pilots and crew to keep the airline soaring and “avoid a situation of making last-minute cancellations.”

Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.
Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.

O’Brien described Wamos as “a really trusted operator who is used to delivering to a premium product… and their aircraft, which we went up to Madrid and inspected, is a really modern A330 which was refreshed in 2020.”

The Star Alliance member’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner will return to Perth as of February 17 2023 – until then, here’s what will change in the passenger experience.

Business class passengers will still enjoy a fully lie-flat bed – but it’ll be in a more conventional forward-facing seat with a 1-2-1 layout, so travellers with a partner can select one of the paired ‘honeymoon mode’ seats in the middle.

Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.
Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.

These also boast more personal space and stowage around the seat, with AC and USC power outlets conveniently located at the from of the seat, near the armrest and next to a pocket perfectly sized for a tablet or book.

Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.
Business class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.

Every passenger will “receive a full Air New Zealand meal service and beverages,” the airline promises. That’s another change for the better, as meals are normally not included in the lowest-priced Seat or Seat+bag economy fare.

But with no premium economy seating – just 260 economy seats with 32” pitch, in a 2-4-2 layout – Air New Zealand says passengers who booked premium will be offered a seat in economy, a refund of the fare difference “and we’ll also give them $150 as a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience,” O’Brien tells Executive Traveller.

Economy class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.
Economy class on AirNZ's leased Wamos A330.

However, travellers who for whatever reason would prefer not to fly on the Wamos A330 “will have the option to (have their fare) go into travel credit which will be valid for 12 months, or request a full refund.”

Finally, the Wamos A330 doesn’t have WiFi – so if you’re used to taking advantage of Air New Zealand’s free inflight Internet service, now’s the time to switch off and enjoy an inflight movie or a good book.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

Hopefully the other airlines learn that word   “ contingency”


23 Oct 2014

Total posts 234

Cabin looks great 

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 126

So they don't have enough planes to reliably service their network? I'd be pretty cheesed if I chose AirNZ because they have premium but then get stuck in economy (on a red-eye), could have gone with anyone else.

You're joking, right? How many airlines have suffered cancellations? All of them. Everybody whinges about that, so here's an airline that's thinking ahead and making one short-term change to one route to minimise the risk of cancellations  which can impact hundreds of passengers, and that's not good enough for you? At least you'd be able to fly, even if not in premium economy, you wouldn't be out of pocket in fact you'd pocket $150 each way, and if you didn't want to fly on this A330 you could get a refund. I can think of a LOT of worse situations to be in!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 356

Proactive instead of reactive. A change for the better and a solid looking business class.

Alan, take note!

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 31

Looks much better than Air NZ's current Dormitory class.

Question is whether the IFE will have up to date content.

The last time I flew the Air NZ wet lease ex SQ plane, the IFE and content was woeful.

20 Oct 2022

Total posts 1

My daughter booked the Sky Couch on this flight as they are flying with 3 month old baby and Auckland to Perth is 8 hours non-stop! They only found out through this article that they no longer have their sky couch and they will be travelling on completely different airline!  Air NZ didn’t have the decently to pre-warn passengers who had already booked these flights of the change!  It’s an absolute mess and Air NZ are not handling these things well at all!  Very glad we decided to book Qantas for our flights to Perth, after years of being loyal to Air NZ I have recently lost all faith in our national airline :(. 

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 383

Oh no.... Air NZ have done this before on the Oz route using a Portuguese wet lease and it was a nightmare. Crew spoke very poor English, food was a shocka, zero IFE and customer complaints sky rocketed higher than the aircraft ever did. Hope Air NZ are using another charter provider here and holding to a high service level agreement!

GM
GM

Air NZ Airpoints

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 37

If you're down the back of the bus, this probably represents an upgrade. A330 eight-across economy seats are typically wider than B787 nine across economy seats, plus you get the nice 2+2 couple seats on the sides.

For all the hype and marketing fluff - and the confected drama in the NZ media - these two aspects would make me happy to end up on this plane. Sounds like a great way to head from PER to AKL :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 25

All round looks so much nicer than Air NZ as I find J and Y very average normally.Great move for thinking outside the box.


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