Air NZ leases aircraft to replace gap left by malfunctioning Dreamliners

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 11, 2017

Unscheduled engine maintenance has thrown Air NZ timetables into disarray.

On December 7, Air New Zealand said it had been forced to cancel some worldwide flights and retime others in response to two incidents involving the Rolls-Royce engines on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

In a statement to the New Zealand stock exchange on Thursday, Air New Zealand said as a result of recent Rolls Royce "engine events" on its Boeing 787-9 fleet, it would cancel and delay flights each day over the coming weeks.

Two flights were affected last week after problems with turbine blades in the Trent 1000 engines which are being replaced on Dreamliners around the world. Passengers reported hearing "clunking" and feeling severe vibrations.

It had been consolidating flights while the planes were worked on. One Tokyo-bound flight had to shut its engine down after it was damaged. They are expected to begin operating some Auckland-Sydney and all Auckland-Perth services by next week.

The pair of airframes is being wet-leased from Portugal-based charter company Hi Fly, which will supply the aircraft, pilots and cabin crew, Air New Zealand said.

"Unfortunately, around 4500 customers have been affected by global flight delays and a small number of cancellations over the past week. Once these two additional aircraft are in service we will be able to operate a near normal timetable", Ms Hawthorne says.

"Unfortunately, 4500 customers have been affected by global flight delays and a small number of cancellations over the past week".

Air New Zealand did not disclose the nature of the two events, but the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission said it was investigating two events involving "engine abnormalities" on Air New Zealand aircraft this week. "Equally, it is a critical time of year for our cargo customers, so giving them certainty to be able to continue to move goods internationally is important".

Air New Zealand said it did not anticipate any change to current earnings guidance at this stage. This was a much quicker path to get the aircraft into our network than going through a lengthy certification and training programme for our own people, who are not trained to operate the Airbus widebody aircraft.

"Air New Zealand's union partners have been extremely understanding of this situation and share our commitment to take the necessary steps to maintain the flight schedule over this important Christmas and summer period, " she said. "We thank them for their support".

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