Air New Zealand has taken delivery of the world’s first Boeing 787-9 airliner and is flying it from Seattle to Auckland.
More than 1000 Boeing employees joined the airline’s representatives, VIP guests and media to celebrate the handover of the aircraft at the Future of Flight museum near Seattle.
American country music group The Band Perry made a surprise appearance and joined the celebrations.
Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 is in the airline's distinctive black livery and will depart for Auckland, New Zealand, after it has been displayed to international media and travel trade partners.
It will arrive late afternoon Friday 11 July.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon says the delivery of the 787-9 is the start of an exciting new era for the airline.
“It's a privilege to be the global launch customer for this aircraft and our team is looking forward to flying it home to New Zealand. The 787-9 is a real game changer and we can’t wait for our customers to experience it," says Mr Luxon.
This aircraft is the first of ten 787-9 Dreamliners to join Air New Zealand's fleet. The aircraft will operate the Auckland - Perth route from 15 October 2014 and to Shanghai and Tokyo later this year.
The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 6 meters over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 km) with the same exceptional environmental performance - 20% less fuel use and 20% fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes.
Twenty-six customers from around the world have ordered 409 787-9s, accounting for 40% of all 787 orders.
Another of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will be displayed by Boeing at the Farnborough International Airshow later this month.