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Air NZ looks to license cuddle couch for 'rich amount of money'

But travel agents aren't doing enough to sell the Skycounch to punters, says CEO Rob Fyfe.

NBR staff
Wed, 13 Jun 2012

Air New Zealand could announce its first "cuddle couch" licensing deal by the end of this year, CEO Rob Fyfe says.

The airline is in talks with 12 other carriers interested in using the Skycouch concept on their planes, Mr Fyfe said at the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in China.

Introduced by Air New Zealand in 2010, the 80cm by 1.4m Skycouch allows two economy-class passengers (or two adults and one extremely well-behaved child) to lie flat across three seats - as long as they pay a premium for their two seats, and buy the third seat, at half price. It works out to about $1000 extra for a flight from NZ to LA.

Mr Fyfe would not say what kind of revenue licensing deals could generate, but told Bloomberg, “We won’t offer it to other airlines unless they are prepared to pay us a rich amount of money.”

However, it is not all cuddles for airline.

The Air NZ boss also said wholesale distributors were not doing a good enough job selling the Skycouch concept to travel agents, particularly in the US market. The airline could earn up to 6% more per seat on Boeing 777-300s if the concept was properly promoted to passengers, Mr Fyfe said.

Shares [NZX:AIR] closed flat at 86c yesterday. They have a 52-week range of $1.20 to 84c (see charts above).

The government plans to sell-down its majority stake in the airline as part of its partial privatisation programme.

NBR staff
Wed, 13 Jun 2012
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Air NZ looks to license cuddle couch for 'rich amount of money'