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Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Air New Zealand to buy more Boeing 777 planes

AP , WELLINGTON

Air New Zealand is buying four Boeing 777-300 long-haul airplanes and has options on three more as it extends its fleet's range and expands capacity, chief executive Rob Fyfe said yesterday.

The first four airplanes, due for delivery by 2011, have a combined list price of NZ$1.1 billion (US$844 million), but were bought at a discount, Fyfe said, without revealing details.

The purchases, along with eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners the airline has on order, will extend the range, capacity and fuel efficiency of the company's fleet, Fyfe said in a statement.

Air New Zealand has now committed more than NZ$2.6 billion to long haul fleet investment.

"The purchase rights for the 777-300 ERs were obtained from Boeing in 2004, and the confidence we showed in the future of Air New Zealand when the aircraft purchasing market was at the bottom of the cycle three years ago has really paid off," he said.

Air New Zealand is 76 percent owned by the New Zealand government after it was rescued from bankruptcy in 2001.

Fyfe said the airline will move to a full 777 and 787 twin-engine fleet for long haul flights around 2012, phasing out its Boeing 747 and 767 fleets as the new airplanes are introduced.

The 777-300 ER can seat about 50 more passengers than the 313 seat 777-200 ERs currently in the Air New Zealand fleet.

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