The airline was the first customer to order the sharklet-equipped A320s. However, other airlines have received the aircraft before Air New Zealand. Airbus executives say more than 70 A320s have been delivered with sharklets, to 23 airlines.
As well as increasing fuel efficiency, the sharklets provide many benefits, says Morgan. They provide more lift, which can often increase payload. Aircraft also climb more quickly, helping to reduce airport noise. The latest A320 delivery is also the first in Air New Zealand's fleet to have a head-up display for the pilot.
Along with all the fleet changes, Air New Zealand is also rolling out a new livery. Last year the airline announced it would be changing its traditional teal blue color scheme on the vertical stabilizer to black. In a further modification unveiled recently, it will extend the black down the rear part of the fuselage and add a large silver fern design, also retaining the well-known Maori Koru symbol.
A few aircraft in the fleet already have fuselages painted entirely black, and this will still be the case when the new livery is rolled out. Black is the color typically worn by New Zealand's national sports teams, and the silver fern is a national symbol.