The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Air New Zealand today signed a definitive agreement for the purchase of four Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners and options for three additional 777-300ERs, as the carrier continues its push toward operating the most fuel-efficient fleet of airliners.
The signing and announcement event was attended by Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe and Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President - Asia Pacific Sales Stan Deal. The ceremony took place at Air New Zealand's Auckland headquarters.
The four new airplanes have an estimated value of $1.1 billion at Boeing list prices and are powered by General Electric GE90-115BL engines, the world's largest and most powerful commercial jet engine.
"These new -300ERs will help us build on the success we've had with our existing 777s," said Fyfe. "There's no doubting the 777's passenger appeal, and its fuel efficiency is a very good fit with our very strong commitment to the environment.
"Tourists come to New Zealand to enjoy our unspoiled environment, so it's critically important that we bring them here in the most fuel efficient aircraft," he said.
With its twin-engine efficiency, the 777-300ER reduces fuel consumption by more than 20 percent per seat compared to its closest competitor, therefore reducing CO2 emissions by more than 20 percent.
Since entering into service in 2004, the overall fuel efficiency of the 777-300ER has been improved by 3.6 percent through a combination of improved fuel burn in service and enhancements to the airplane. In addition, the range of the 777-300ER has increased by 630 nautical miles (1200 km) since entry into service.
"Air New Zealand is known for its customer focus and provides an outstanding passenger experience, particularly with its 777-200ER fleet," said Deal. "Air New Zealand was one of the first to recognize the economic benefits of 777/787 mixed-fleet operations and we believe that by giving passengers what they want - nonstop flights in modern planes - Air New Zealand is well positioned for continued success."
Air New Zealand will use the new 777s to replace its 747-400s.
Air New Zealand was the first airline in the South Pacific region to become a 777 customer, with a 777-200ER delivery in December 2005. Air New Zealand currently operates an all-Boeing twin-aisle fleet of eight 777-200ERs, eight 747-400s and five 767-300ERs. Air New Zealand has also ordered eight 787-9 Dreamliners with options for a further eight.
The 777 family of airplanes is popular with passengers and airlines alike due to its fuel-efficient twin-engine design, high reliability, low operating costs, and comfortable and spacious interior. The 777-300ER carries up to 365 passengers up to 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 kilometers).
The 777 is the clear leader in the 300- to 400-seat segment with 65 percent of the market, and unfilled orders in excess of 340 airplanes valued at approximately $87 billion at current list prices. Airlines worldwide have ordered more than 990 777s.