Air New Zealand takes delivery of their first Airbus A321neo
The first Airbus A321neo for Air New Zealand has been delivered, marking the beginning of the airline’s fleet renewal and expansion plans.
MSN 8496, registered ZK-NNA, performed a customer acceptance flight on the 28th and 29th of October before being handed over two the airline on the 2nd of November, where it departed Hamburg at 8:21 UTC. Only 5h and 13min of flight testing was required – maiden flight and two customer acceptance flights. Since the aircraft cannot fly directly from Hamburg to Auckland, Air New Zealand will fly the aircraft using the following route: XFW–MCT–KUL–CNS–AKL.
Air New Zealand originally ordered Airbus A320neo family aircraft (7 A321neos, 6 A320neos) in 2014 in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The aircraft will be used to replace existing A320s on Tasman and Pacific Island routes. An order for an additional seven was placed recently, where these frames will be used to operate Air New Zealand’s domestic network. Deliveries of the first batch will continue until the end of 2019, with the second order arriving from 2020 to 2024.
Airbus and Air New Zealand worked together to create an entertaining video of the assembly and video process:
The aircraft is configured in a single-class configuration, totaling 214 seats, in a 3-3 layout. Each seat comes with a 10 inch entertainment screen which features USB and USB Type-C charging ports. Compared to the existing A320s within Air New Zealand’s fleet, the A321neo offers 46 more seats. This is done by using leather, slim-line seats that save 7% more space compared to the seats fitted on their A320s. Width wise, each middle seat is 3cm wider and each aisle and window seat is 1cm wider than the older seats in their A320s.
It’s worth noting that throughout the aircraft, there are a vast amount of different specifications in each seat. Some with more or less seat pitch, some without movable armrests and some that offer almost no recline. You can have a look a the seat map on their website here.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the cabin to further improve the passenger experience, however it is not yet known what the prices will be like. Some have stated it will be based on how long you use it for, not how much you have used and others have said it will be similar to their international fleet.
Flights with the A321neo will begin on the 23rd of November when the aircraft will fly from Auckland to Brisbane as NZ739.
As for engine selection, Pratt and Whitney PW1133G Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines will power the entire fleet of A321neo and A320neo aircraft. Pratt is currently working hard to fix problems with their GTF engines and are confident Air New Zealand will be happy with the performance the engine has to offer. The last thing Air New Zealand needs right now is more engine issues, especially considering their Boeing 787 Trent 1000 dilemmas.
Expect more on the Air New Zealand A321neo as it begins operation.