Air New Zealand to increase long-haul premium seating

Air New Zealand is planning to spend more than NZ$100 million (US$73m) in a revamp of the premium cabins onboard its long-haul aircraft.

Under the new plan, which the airline said was being implemented in response to “increasing demand for premium travel”, Air New Zealand will alter the cabin configurations of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

Three Dreamliners scheduled for delivery from October 2017 will feature the new layout, which will increase the number of Business Premier seats from 18 to 27 and Premium Economy seats from 21 to 33.

The new leather premium economy seats
The new leather premium economy seats

Then from February 2017, all seven of the airline’s B777-300s will be refurbished, including the installation of new Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment systems, which are already fitted on the Dreamliners.

These aircraft will also be equipped with new Business Premier and Economy class seats, as well as Air New Zealand’s new leather Premium Economy seats. These will replace the existing B777 Spaceseats and will increase the number of Premium Economy seats on these aircraft from 44 to 54.

The full B777-300 refurbishment programme is expected to be completed by late November 2017.

“When we unveiled the Spaceseat in 2010, it was revolutionary and clearly the best option in the market at the time, as a string of international awards has proven. However, seating technology and materials have come a long way since then and our customer research now shows consistently higher satisfaction scores for our newest Premium Economy offering so it’s time to continue Air New Zealand’s evolution in this space,” said Air New Zealand’s general manager of customer experience, Carrie Hurihanganui.

“With these changes, we look forward to being able to offer our customers a consistent Premium Economy product across our long-haul fleet and being able to welcome even more customers into our premium cabins with the expanded premium footprint on our Dreamliners.

“The reconfiguration of our Dreamliners and refurbishment of our 777-300s signal a clear commitment by the airline to continue to deliver the best onboard customer experience into the future,” she added.

The arrival of Air New Zealand’s new B787-9 Dreamliners next year will lead to the retirement of the airline’s remaining B767-300 aircraft.

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