Air New Zealand has operated the first ever A321neo flight into Queenstown. The airline operated a proving flight to conduct final operational checks before the new narrow-body jets begin commercial trans-Tasman services to and from Queenstown next month.
Air New Zealand has invested in 13 Airbus neo aircraft (seven A321neos and six A320neos) to replace the A320 fleet that currently operates Tasman and Pacific Island services as well as a further seven Airbus A321neo for anticipated domestic network growth. To date the airline has taken delivery of four A321neos and one A320neo for its short haul international network.
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity & Standards Officer Captain David Morgan says today’s flight was an exciting step forward for operations in Queenstown.
“The four pilots on board today’s flight carried out a series of approaches before circling and landing at Queenstown Airport. On the ground the crew then conducted a series of gate checks alongside our airport team to confirm the longer A321neo can be successfully accommodated on both domestic and international gates.
“We now look forward to welcoming our customers on board in the coming weeks,” says Captain Morgan.
The new A320neos have 165 seats on board while the stretch A321neos offer 214 seats – 46 more than the airline’s existing international A320 fleet.
Quieter new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices mean the A321neos are 15 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft they’re replacing, helping reduce carbon emissions.
Air New Zealand neo operations to Queenstown commence next month.