Air New Zealand, set to declare a bumper annual profit on Friday, has confirmed it will spend more than NZD 100 million increasing the number of premium seats on its B787-9 Dreamliners and refurbishing its B777-300 fleet.
The New Zealand carrier is tipped to be about to announce an annual profit of about NZD 600 million, just days after its trans-Tasman rival Qantas declared an all-time-record result.
Like Qantas, Air New Zealand has benefitted from lower fuel prices and has held costs.
Credit Suisse forecasts Air New Zealand’s annual profit will leap about 80% up to NZD 601 million, while Goldman Sachs estimates net profit will be NZD 592.3 million, The New Zealand Herald reports.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand airline has confirmed that increasing demand for premium travel means its three B787 Dreamliners scheduled to be delivered from October 2017 will arrive with a fresh new cabin configuration that will increase the number of Business Premier seats from 18 to 27 and Premium Economy seats from 21 to 33.
From February 2017, all seven of the airline’s B777-300s will also progressively complete a refurbishment program, including the installation of the Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system customers already enjoy on the Dreamliner fleet, and refreshed seating options.
Each of the B777-300s’ interiors will be completely refurbished as part of the project. The refurbished aircraft will feature refreshed Business Premier and Economy seats as well as Air New Zealand’s luxury leather Premium Economy seat which debuted on the B787-9 Dreamliner in July 2014. These will replace the Spaceseat and take the number of Premium Economy seats on this aircraft from 44 to 54.
The B777-300 refurbishment programme is expected to be completed by late November 2017.
Written by Peter Needham