Air New Zealand to purchase new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners in multi-billion dollar deal

Air New Zealand has announced its intention to purchase eight new 787-10 aircraft in a deal with Boeing worth US$2.7 billion at list prices.

Our national airline chose to work with with US manufacturer Boeing, to replace its current aging 777-200 fleet.

Air NZ's current fleet of nine 777-200s operate a range of routes through Australia, Asia and the United States.

Boeing and its European competitor Airbus have been battling for the Air NZ contract for the past 18 months.

Air NZ already operates 13 Dreamliner 787-9 jets and has one more on order. Boeing's newest concept - the 777-X - and Airbus' A350, a current industry favourite, were also reported to have been options put forward to the airline.

"The 787-10 is longer and even more fuel efficient," said Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon. "However, the game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we've ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet."

The purchase is exciting news for travellers, with direct flights to New York a possibility with the new aircraft.

Although Air NZ already owns over a dozen Dreamliners, the new purchases will come with something different on its wings - American engines.

General Electric (GE) engines have been chosen to power the Dreamliners, following issues with the Rolls-Royce engines currently fitted to Air NZ's 787 fleet, which has seen the aircraft being grounded for maintenance more frequently than expected.

Air NZ was forced to lease aircraft from overseas operators and delay the travel of tens of thousands of passengers due to the engine issues.

"We are honoured to extend our deep partnership with Air NZ," said Christy Reese, vice president of Boeing commercial sales. 

"This is a bold decision by the airline and will help carry forward the ambitions of Air NZ for many years to come."

Air NZ is now two months into a two-year cost reduction program which included deferring capital expenditure of about NZ$750 million.