Air New Zealand has shared the launch date for its new aircraft, originally announced in 2020, but more details of which were presented last year. The new planes will fly in September 2024.
In June 2020, the airline shared that it had acquired eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners that would feature the world’s first sleep pods in the sky, available for Economy travellers. Called Skynest, the area looks not unlike an overnight train carriage, with a total of six pods. Economy and Premium Economy passengers travelling on long-haul flights would be able to book them for four-hour sessions, with a limit of one session per passenger.
For an upgrade, Business Premier Luxe (a closed-door suite with space for two to dine) and Business Premier seats will also be available on the Dreamliners.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said it was a proud moment to unveil the new cabins five years’ in the making, and that Skynest would be a game-changer in economy travel.
“New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long haul travel experience,” he said.
“We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot — they want to hit the ground running.”
Also new on-board are care stations in Economy and Premium Economy cabins, so customers can stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and stay hydrated.
“Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep, so everything we do onboard is to help create a sense of calm — from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to the healthier food choices and breathable fabrics,” says Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty. “Meditative onscreen content, Zentertainment, will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest.”
The uniqueness of Aotearoa inspired the new cabins’ interior design, from the forest-look carpet to the seats with New Zealand’s native bird, the Tui, patterned.
Sustainability played a key part of the design process, with the use of modern fabrics instead of leather, saving around 1kg in weight per Business Premier and Premium Economy seat, thereby reducing overall carbon emissions. In Premium cabins, the airline will also switch to serviceware that’s 20% lighter, also helping to reduce carbon emissions. In Economy, the new serviceware will reduce plastic dishes used in-flight by 28 million every year.