Air New Zealand A321neo to drive capacity increase on Australia and Pacific routes

Air New Zealand is adding capacity on several routes to Australia and the Pacific as it places into service its new fleet of A321neos.


  • Air New Zealand has taken delivery of its first A321neo;
  • The A321neo becomes Air New Zealand’s largest narrowbody aircraft and will result in a 27% increase on regional international flights now operated with A320ceos;
  • Over half of the up to 240 weekly international flights Air New Zealand now operates with A320ceos will be up-gauged to A321neos by the end of 2019;

Air NZ took delivery of its first A321neo on 25-Sep-2018 and plans to place the aircraft into service in mid-Nov-2018. A second A321neo is also slated to enter service by the end of Nov-2018.

The A321neo is currently scheduled to debut on the Auckland-Sydney route on 12-Nov-2018, followed by a range of destinations from Auckland including: Gold Coast; Brisbane; Melbourne; Nuku’Alofa; Apia; and Nadi. Only select flights on the seven initial routes will be operated with A321neos.

Air NZ is configuring its international A321neos with 214 all economy seats, 48 more than the airline’s largest international narrowbody aircraft the A320ceo. This equates to a 27% increase in seat capacity. Air NZ is replacing its fleet of international A320ceos with seven A321neos and six A320neos. Air NZ currently operates up to 240 international flights per week with A320ceos.

The A320neo family of aircraft is ideally suited for Air NZ’s regional international network because it is much more efficient than A320ceo family on medium haul routes. The A320neo and A321neo also has the range to reach destinations that cannot be accessed with A320ceos (such as Perth in Australia and Papeete in Tahiti).

Air New Zealand’s six international A320neos will have 165 seats, resulting in a modest 2% decline in capacity on narrowbody international routes that are not up-gauged to the A321neo. However, the average capacity increase generated by Air NZ’s new narrowbody international fleet will be around 14%. This will result in around 5,000 additional international weekly seats – a significant sum that will drive a 3% increase in Air NZ’s total international seat capacity.

Air NZ also currently operates A320ceos domestically with a denser all economy configuration of 171 seats. These aircraft will be replaced as with A321neos as part of the second phase of Air NZ’s narrowbody fleet renewal programme, resulting in a significant increase in capacity on domestic trunk routes (and to Air NZ’s total domestic seat capacity).

Air NZ plans to take delivery of seven domestic A321neos, which will likely be configured with slightly more seats than the international A321neos, from 2020 to 2024. It plans to take all 13 of the international A320neos/A321neos by the end of 2019. The first international A320neo is slated to enter service in Feb-2019, or three months after the first A321neo.

Air NZ will become in November only the second airline to operate the A321neo in the Australasia market. Philippine Airlines became the first A321neo operator in Australasia in Jul-2018, when it began deploying A321neos on the Manila-Brisbane route. PAL is also now using A321neos on some of its Manila-Sydney flights.

See related report: Philippine Airlines improves Brisbane and Sydney product with new A321neos

There are currently no regular A320neo operations in Australasia although Royal Brunei temporarily deployed the A320neo on some of its Melbourne flights in Aug-2018. Air NZ is poised to become the first airline to use the A320neo in the Australasia market on a regular basis.