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First Air NZ Dreamliner to visit Auckland

Boeing's first “stretched” 787-9 Dreamliner will make a stopover in Auckland this coming weekend as part of a test programme.

Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the aircraft, which is 6m longer than the 787-8 and can fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 km).

“Boeing is proud to bring the 787-9 to Auckland to show Air New Zealand what the team has achieved,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president, 787 Development, Mark Jenks says in a statement.

“With more than 150 flights since testing began in September, the test fleet continues to perform very well, and we look forward to delivering the first 787-9 in mid-2014 as promised."

The aircraft, ZB002, is the second of three 787-9s dedicated to the test programme. As the only 787-9 test aircraft to be fitted with elements of the passenger interior, in addition to test racks and instrumentation, Boeing says it uses ZB002 to test the environmental control system and other aspects of aircraft performance.

After the test programme is complete, the aircraft will be reconfigured for delivery to Air New Zealand.

“Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting,” chief executive Christopher Luxon says in a statement. “It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

From Auckland, ZB002 is scheduled to continue on to Alice Springs, Australia, where Boeing plans to conduct flight testing in hot weather.

A total of 26 airlines and other customers have ordered 402 787-9s, approximately 39% of all 787 orders.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions

Cannot say I'm thrilled about any new planes arriving these days -- over-exposure to the 'Smart Approaches/ Dumb Departures' which leave a $100-million Airways NZ investment in techno sort-of flying the planes using their GPS as they rev and stubble and stutter across the garden and the golf course and once-great reserve next door (most of the wild bird life has ducked for cover). Low and slow they come.....24/7 despite the airport's claim to work from 7-10 PM, which we all know is a lie, 'cos we've all flown at different times to that.
The worst of the planes is the Banshee, aka the 320 Airbus, which has a dodgy reputation for staying in the sky anyway.
The Boeings, with the exception of the old Korean planes, and if you've read the Outliers, you'd never fly with them, are better, marginally.
So if this new dream-bird replaces half-a-dozen 320s.....bring it on.
Meantime I'm calling the double-glazer and sending the bill to AIAL: they can afford it.

Hopefully it won't have any of Air NZ's ridiculously ever-changing paint schemes inspired by their gaudy "fashion" gurus