Following an intensive and robust evaluation process, Air New Zealand has ordered 14 Airbus A320 aircraft to replace its existing domestic fleet of 15 Boeing 737-300s. The aircraft will be powered by IAE engines.
The A320, which is larger than the aircraft type it will replace, will enable Air New Zealand to increase capacity on routes that are starting to face capacity constraints at some airports during peak times. Air New Zealand has also placed purchase options for a further 11 A320 aircraft, including the possibility of selecting the larger A321.
"Our 12 Airbus A320s already deployed on short haul international routes are performing well, and moving to one single-aisle aircraft type for both domestic and short haul international routes will immediately deliver added efficiencies in maintenance, crew training, and overall fleet simplification," said Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand General Manager Short Haul Airline.
The A320 has the widest fuselage of any single-aisle aircraft and is a significant factor in added passenger comfort. A new cabin design offers a significant increase in overhead stowage, dramatic ambience lighting options and noticeable noise reduction.
Enhanced aerodynamics, engine enhancements and improved navigation technology such as "continuous descent approach" keep the A320 the most eco-efficient aircraft in its class.
"Air New Zealand will reap the benefits of selecting a common family of aircraft across their domestic and short haul single-aisle fleet. The A320 prevailed in the stiffest of competitions to show once again, that it is the single aircraft of choice bar none. We are delighted to build on our already close relationship with Air New Zealand with this announcement," said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly-by-wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. More than 6,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world's best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerised cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.