May 31, 2012
Air New Zealand, the launch customer for Boeing’s larger 787-9 variant, says the aircraft appears to be on track for first delivery in the second quarter of 2014.
While multiple delays in the 787 program have resulted in numerous changes to delivery schedules, the airline is “reasonably confident” in its latest projection, Air NZ Program Director Kerry Reeves tells Aviation Week.
Despite this, the carrier has yet to announce a date for the aircraft’s entry into service.
The airline now has to finalize the cabin specifications for its initial -9s, which Reeves says will be sent to Boeing by September. While the configuration can be changed for later deliveries, Air NZ currently does not plan to do so.
The 787s are unlikely to have the new premium economy seats that were delivered with Air NZ’s 777-300ERs.
The first of the 10 787s Air NZ has on order will be used to replace 767-300ERs on medium-haul international routes. The aircraft also will enable new long-haul routes to be opened, but these have yet to be decided, says Reeves.
Air NZ is not interested in converting any of its -9 orders to the proposed -10 version, which will provide more capacity, but, as Reeves notes, a shorter range that would restrict the carrier’s ability to assign the aircraft.