LONDON – On November 2, the New Zealand flag carrier, Air New Zealand, took delivery of its first domestic Airbus A321neo aircraft.
The new domestic A321neo
The new domestic Airbus A321neo that Air New Zealand has taken delivery of is registered as ZK-OYA and is painted in Air New Zealand’s standard basic colours.
The aircraft left the Airbus manufacturing facility in Hamburg, Germany on October 29 and flew approximately 19,352 kilometres across the globe to Auckland landing in New Zealand on November 2.
The aircraft made its first of three fuel stopovers in Muscat, Oman then onto Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and finally stopping in Cairns in northern Australia before it completed its delivery flight as NZ6091 to the carriers home base in Auckland.
Their new Airbus A321neo will be solely used across Air New Zealand’s domestic services, which will primarily be between Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Queenstown. The aircraft has a seating configuration of 217 all-economy class seats, which will fit perfectly alongside the carrier’s domestic Airbus A320 fleet to cope with the heavy demand across Air New Zealand’s domestic services.
ZK-OYA will now spend five days in the carrier’s hangars at Auckland undergoing pre-service readiness before it begins its first scheduled domestic services on November 8, with the first flight heading to Wellington.
Their new Airbus A321neo will join Air New Zealand’s existing fleet of seven Airbus A321neo’s in international seating configuration of 214 all-economy class seats, which with the arrival of their domestic A321neo’s will begin to phase primarily on the carriers international services but will still remain mixed across both their domestic and international networks.
Air New Zealand has a total of seven domestically configured Airbus A321neo’s on order to join its fleet, with six now remaining to be delivered. The second will join their fleet a little later this year and is sporting the carriers special All Blacks livery, with their first All Blacks livery to have Star Alliance titles. Three more of the type will be delivered throughout 2023 and the final two will enter service in 2026.
Air New Zealand comments
Commenting on their newest fleet arrival, Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, says, “The new aircraft is a welcome sign that the airline is doing what it does best – keeping Kiwis connected by adding additional capacity.”
“We’re focused on growing our domestic network and this A321neo is especially configured for domestic flying to add almost 50 additional seats per flight compared to our A320s.”
“Our customers have told us, departing on schedule and reaching their destination on time is incredibly important. With the exciting introduction of the larger A321neo domestic aircraft, we’ll commence boarding five minutes earlier and encourage all customers to be at the gate ready to board at minimum, 15 minutes before departure, to ensure an on-time departure.”
It’s great to see Air New Zealand ramping up its domestic network with the additional capacity that the Airbus A321neo offers. It shows that the carrier is back on path for profitability as well as sustained growth over the coming years.