BY JAMES WILKINSON
The first of Air New Zealand’s new Airbus A320s for the domestic fleet is set to take off for commercial service in a few weeks.
In a major upgrade of its domestic product, Air New Zealand is progressively introducing 14 of the new jets into service, including several during 2011.
“The first four will be delivered this year and the remaining ten progressively through until 2016, coinciding with the expiry of our current B737-300 aircraft leases,” said Air New Zealand’s General Manager – New Zealand, Scott Carr.
Fittingly, the first aircraft will be painted in a black livery in honour of the airline’s sponsorship of rugby in New Zealand.
“The all black livery, with silver fern motif and Koru on its tail, is to celebrate Air New Zealand’s long running sponsorship of the New Zealand Rugby Union and the All Blacks,” Carr said.
The new 177-seat Airbus A320s are 30% larger than the existing Boeing 737-300s currently being used on domestic services.
Internally, customers will see a dramatic change from the current onboard product, with the interior mirroring the colour scheme and mood lighting on the new fleet of Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which is also due to enter service shortly.
Click here to see time-lapse video of the aircraft being built and painted.