Air New Zealand has announced it will purchase eight Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft fitted with fuel-efficient GE Aviation GEnx-1B engines.

The airline says the agreement represents a “significant” investment, with a list price of $2.7 billion for the aircraft, though it has decided not to disclose how much it will actually pay for the planes.

The first of the new 787-10s is due to join the Air New Zealand fleet in 2022 and the airline claims all eight of the aircraft can potentially save 190,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

As part of the deal, Air New Zealand can increase its order to up to 20 aircraft and has negotiated the rights to switch from the larger 787-10 to the smaller 787-9, or a combination of the two.

The airline says the new aircraft will replace its existing fleet of eight Boeing 777-200s, which it will phase out by 2025. Its widebody fleet also currently consists of 13 787-9s and seven 777-300s. A 14th 787-9 is due to enter service later this year.

CEO Christopher Luxon commented: “The 787-10 is longer and even more fuel efficient. However, the game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet. This is a hugely important decision for our airline. With the 787-10 offering almost 15 per cent more space for customers and cargo than the 787-9, this investment creates the platform for our future strategic direction and opens up new opportunities to grow.”

Christy Reese, vice president of Boeing commercial sales and marketing for Asia Pacific, added: “The 787-10 is the most efficient widebody in operation today with 25 per cent better fuel costs per seat than the aircraft it replaces. In addition, the 787-10 has 95 per cent commonality with Air New Zealand’s existing fleet of 787-9s and will provide the airline with added benefits in terms of capacity and overall operations.”

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