Air New Zealand is preparing to receive its first A321NEO aircraft from Airbus. The A321NEO will be the first time the airline will receive the bigger version of their current A320CEO’s. They have an order for a mix of both A320NEO and A321NEO aircraft.

The order is worth $2.8 billion, with ZK-NNA (the A321NEO pictured above) to enter service in November. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the aircraft’s arrival marks the beginning of a new strategy for the airline’s short-haul operations.

“Australia and the Pacific Islands are a vitally important part of our Pacific Rim network,” he says.

“We operate up to 240 services each week with our Airbus narrow-body aircraft. These new aircraft are key to enabling us to grow our short-haul network while offering our customers a great in-flight experience.”

Not only are the aircraft longer, but the seats are wider too. The new leather upholstered interior has seats ranging from 1-3cm wider than current sizes.

The new aircraft will also come with a new Android-based entertainment system, larger 10-inch screens and wi-fi capability.

“We extensively tested and refined the NEO in-flight experience with customers to ensure we could incorporate their feedback while meeting regulatory and operating requirements and we’re confident we’ve delivered an in-flight experience our customers are going to enjoy,” Mr Luxon said.

Their first A320NEO is due to arrive in February next year, with the second A321NEO due by the end of the year.

The A320NEO family is said to be 15% more efficient than previous generation aircraft, with new, larger engines, and improved wing tips.

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