Air New Zealand reveals future fleet strategy

Kiwi flag carrier unveils long-term plans for its roster as it continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic

Air New Zealand is continuing its strategy of fleet simplification as the company set out its long-term vision for changes to its roster during its annual results last week.

The Kiwi carrier expects to operate just two jet types by 2027 which include the Boeing 787 and Airbus A320. This means that its Boeing 777s, of which it currently owns seven examples, will be retired and replaced with the Dreamliner.

The Boeing 777-300ER is the most successful variant of the 777 with more than 800 sold. Aviation Image Network/BaoLuo

Its turboprop fleet – which includes the ATR72 and De Havilland Canada DHC-8-300 – will remain unchanged.

The firm says the changes are being made to “drive superior operating cost and capital expenditure outcomes”.

AIN ATR vs 787
The 787 Dreamliner is set to become to mainstay of Air New Zealand's long-haul roster while the ATR 72 will exclusively support the firm's domestic and regional route network. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The strategy comes after a decision last September to ground its entire 777 fleet until at least September this year, but it has now been confirmed the twinjet will not be returning to flight long-term with the Auckland-based operator.

The 777s are the largest aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet and have operated most of the airline’s long-haul routes over the past 15 years.

The company is steadily taking delivery of A320neos to replace its current generation Airbus narrowbody fleet. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The firm’s international schedule will be operated by the more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, along with Airbus A320s and A320/21neos for trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.