Air New Zealand to retire all Boeing 777-300s

By 2027, all of the Kiwi carrier's long-range flights will be handled by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

By David Flynn, August 26 2021
Air New Zealand to retire all Boeing 777-300s

Air New Zealand will stand down its Boeing 777-300ER jets over the coming years, with the advanced fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking over all long-range routes to Asia and North America.

The Kiwi carrier currently lists seven Boeing 777-300ERs and 14 Boeing 787-9s in its fleet, but will replace two 777-300ERs by 2025 with its first two of its eight Boeing 787-10s on order.

The five remaining 777-300ERs will be quickly put out to pasture as the rest of the 'Dash 10' Dreamliners arrive, with Air New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Richard Thomson saying "we are now set to have an all 787 fleet for our long haul business by 2027."

Thomson outlined the fleet overhaul in an analyst briefing following Air New Zealand's FY21 annual results, which saw an NZ$440 million loss as the airline closed the book on the first full-year impact of Covid-19.

The past, present and near-future of Air New Zealand's fleet.
The past, present and near-future of Air New Zealand's fleet.

The Star Alliance member traditionally generates two-thirds of its revenue from international travel, where the shift to an all-787 fleet will result in significant cost savings.

"Not only do these aircraft represent the best in currently available technology, but they'll also bring about significant simplicity benefits in all areas of our operations, crewing, engineering and maintenance and flight operations to name a few," Thomson said.

AirNZ's new Boeing 787 business class goes 'business plus'

The Boeing 787-10s will see the debut of Air New Zealand's all-new Business Premier business class seat, along with a 'business plus' section in the front row offering additional legroom, space and privacy plus what the airline has described as "a shared dining experience".

The upmarket Row 1 experience takes full advantage of the front row in a business class cabin – where seats facing the bulkhead wall already tend to have extra legroom – to create a row of business class seats superior to the rest.

Air New Zealand has been plotting a replacement for its circa-2005 sleeper for several years, and in 2018 invited selected passengers – including many who regularly fly on AirNZ's longest routes to North America – to trial a mock-up of the seat under lock and key at the airline's 'Hangar 22' product development facility in Auckland.

Air New Zealand's circa-2005 business class seat is on the way out...
Air New Zealand's circa-2005 business class seat is on the way out...

A survey sent to selected customers last year noted the airline "has the option to enhance the experience for those that booking the front row in Business Premier" and also flagged possible marketing names such as Business Premier Deluxe, Business Premier Plus and Business Premier Retreat.

Regardless of the name, these primo pews would presumably come with a higher asking price in dollars or frequent flyer points, although they could also make a wonderful 'surprise and delight' upgrade for Airpoints Elite Priority One (and potentially Elite Plus) members.

CFO Thomson said the airline's current Boeing 787-9s would also be due for an upgrade after 2023, but was unable to offer more clarity on the timeline for the "interior refit program."

"The interiors on that fleet will start to require a refresh at some point beyond the 2023 financial year, which will require additional CapEx that is not currently reflected in the chart."

"When we know more about the timing and quantum of that program of work, we will communicate that to you."


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.


03 May 2013

Total posts 668

Great news. The world belongs to the passenger friendly and economical 350, 787 and even the A380. Doesn't bode well for the 777x.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 355

If flying economy, give me a 3x3x3 abreast 777 over a 3x3x3 787 any day. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

I'll miss the 777. Well hopefully will have a few more trips on them before they go in 2027

27 Aug 2021

Total posts 2

The Air NZ business class seats are so out of date that if we have to fly Air NZ in business it's only if they are the only carrier flying when and where we want to . Overpriced and not comfortable along with no privacy. 

20 May 2015

Total posts 11

Was hoping they would opt for the A350, regardless business class is way overdue for a revamp.


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 192

Still prefer Air NZ when flying to NZ from Perth as it’s a non-stop flight to Auckland, but hate the current J seats. And it’s painful to see couples caught out when they book A and B seats. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 345

Maybe they wil lget rid of that horrid business class seating as well??? Anyways many airlines have new 777 eg Swiss which are 2 engines rather than 4 of the A380  

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