02 June 2014

Airbus 321 for Air New Zealand in 14 Airbus order

Air New Zealand has today announced further fleet investment with the purchase of 13 new Airbus A320neo (new engine option) aircraft to refresh its international narrow body fleet and an additional A320 to join its domestic operation. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Luxon, signed the purchase agreement with Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy at the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar, today. The A320neo aircraft will replace Air New Zealand’s current fleet of 13 A320s which operate the majority of the airline’s Tasman and Pacific Island services.  Equipped with new generation engines and fuel efficient Sharklet wing tip devices they’re expected to deliver fuel savings of up to 15 percent. The purchase agreement is for a combination of A321neo and A320neo aircraft.  The exact mix will be confirmed over time but will be a minimum of three A321neo aircraft. The A321neo aircraft will have 38 more seats than the A320s the airline currently operates across the Tasman and to the Pacific, allowing for future growth on these routes.  The first A321neo is due in late 2017 with the remainder of the aircraft delivered at intervals through until 2019.  The additional A320 for the domestic fleet will be delivered in early 2015.

An Airbus image of the new Airbus 321neos in Air NZ colours
A look at the size difference between the A320 above and the A321 below... both examples the standard aircraft. Both photos taken at Athens on 1 July 2012

and a couple more at Sydney on 2 June 2013, the A320 above displays sharklet wingtips. According to Wikipedia the improvements on the new A320-neo aircraft include aerodynamic refinements, such as adding large curved winglets (Sharklets) with 3.5% fuel burn improvements, weight savings, a new cabin, and engine improvements. Although these engine improvements were fitted into the A320 in 2007/2008 with the CFM56 Tech Insertion and the V2500Select (One), they were estimated with improvements of only 1-2%, which finally led to Airbus's decision of going with the new engine option, abbreviated "neo" 

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