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Air NZ grounds Boeing 777 fleet due to Covid-19 impact on travel

Air NZ grounds Boeing 777 fleet due to Covid-19 impact on travel

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Air New Zealand has grounded its Boeing 777 fleet until at least September 2021 due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

One of Air New Zealand’s 777-200 aircraft, ZK-OKG, parked up in Auckland.

One of Air New Zealand’s 777-200 aircraft, ZK-OKG, parked up in Auckland.
Photo: Supplied / Air NZ

In May, the airline grounded most of its seven 777-300 aircraft until the end of the 2020 calendar year. It signalled it was unlikely to fly its eight 777-200 aircraft in the foreseeable future and began preparing to send these into long term storage overseas.

In a release, the airline said four of the aircraft will be stored in Victorville in the Californian desert and three would remain in Auckland where they can be used if required.

“The North American locations were chosen for their arid conditions and existing storage facilities which will ensure aircraft are kept in a condition that will enable them to be returned to service within six to eight weeks if required,” the airline said.

Air New Zealand chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui said the recovery of the airline’s international network post-Covid-19 is looking to be slower than initially thought.

“The recent resurgence of cases in New Zealand is a reminder that this is a highly volatile situation. We are not anticipating a return to any 777 flying until September 2021 at the earliest, which is why we have made the decision to ground the fleet until at least this time next year.”

The 777s are the largest aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet.

Air New Zealand said it would will use the more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the A320s and A320/21 neos for Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.

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