Air New Zealand has leased two aircraft to help maintain its timetable during the unscheduled maintenance of some Rolls-Royce engines on its 787-9 fleet.
The Airbus 330 and Airbus 340 are being chartered from European company Hi Fly. They are expected to begin operating some Auckland-Sydney and all Auckland-Perth services by next week.
Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says the airline is working hard to minimise the impact on customers caused by the unscheduled Rolls-Royce engine maintenance.
“Unfortunately, around 4,500 customers have been affected by international flight delays and a small number of cancellations over the past week. Once these two additional aircraft are in service we will be able to operate a near normal timetable,” Ms Hawthorne says.
“We are acutely mindful of how important travel is to so many of our customers at this time of year and we are committed to ensuring we connect people with family, friends and the experiences they are looking forward to. Equally, it is a critical time of year for our cargo customers, so giving them certainty to be able to continue to move goods internationally is important.”
Ms Hawthorne says customers travelling on the leased aircraft will notice some difference in product and service style.
“The aircraft will be operated by pilots and crew from Hi Fly under the oversight of Air New Zealand. This was a much quicker path to get the aircraft into our network than going through a lengthy certification and training programme for our own people, who are not trained to operate the Airbus widebody aircraft.
“Air New Zealand’s union partners have been extremely understanding of this situation and share our commitment to take the necessary steps to maintain the flight schedule over this important Christmas and summer period. We thank them for their support.”