Air New Zealand has announced that the Auckland-Perth will be the first to be operated by the new Boeing 787-9 when the airline takes delivery of the launch aircraft next year.
CEO Christopher Luxon made the announcement at the official opening of the airline's Customer Innovation and Collaboration Center in Auckland today. A feature of the center is the only Boeing 787-9 full cabin interior outside the factory in Seattle. This interactive interior experience showcases each of the three 787-9 cabin environments: Business Premier; Premium Economy; and Economy—including the Kiwi-designed Economy Skycouch.
The airline has confirmed an 18 lie-flat seat Business Premier zone in a herringbone layout and a separate 21 seat Premium Economy cabin in a 2-3-2 configuration, each with its own dedicated bathroom facilities. The two Economy cabins will accommodate 263 passengers, including 14 Skycouch rows.
The Customer Innovation and Collaboration Center will also be the hub for "further innovation" from Air New Zealand, Luxon added. "We are determined to deliver step changes in customer experience and to work with our trade partners to crack business issues and seize opportunities together," he said in a statement. "This center provides a focal point to bring to life the best of Kiwi ingenuity and we will also make it available as a venue for like minded Kiwi businesses to use."
The 787-9 dedicated routes to follow Auckland-Perth (which is operated as part of its trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia) will be Auckland-Tokyo and Auckland-Shanghai, expanding the airline's lie-flat Business Premier seating and the Economy Skycouch service.
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia customers will be able to book on the 787-9 service between Auckland and Perth for travel from October 15, 2014, at www.airnewzealand.com and www.virginaustralia.com. More information about Air New Zealand's new 787-9 fleet is available at www.airnewzealand.com/futuretakingflight.