AirNZ imports Spanish plane and crew for Perth-Auckland flights

AirNZ imports Spanish aircraft and crew for Perth-Auckland flights

Passengers boarding Air New Zealand’s daily flights between Perth and Auckland will soon have a very different travel experience than what they are used to.

From 15 November 2022 to 16 February 2023, the six-hour route will be flown by an Airbus A330 leased from Spanish charter company Wamos Air and manned by Wamos’ European crew.

There will also be another business class seat – one we expect many will prefer to Air New Zealand’s awkwardly angled pews – with a full meal for every economy passenger, even if they’re only traveling on a basic Booked a Seat or Seat+ pocket fare .

But Premium Economy and WiFi will be missing from the mix.

According to Air New Zealand, the short-term swap was fueled by skyrocketing demand for travel during the summer peak season and is a “proactive” move to avoid problems caused by aircraft and crew shortages.

Air New Zealand will fly this leased Wamos Air A330 between Perth and Auckland during the summer peak season.

The Boeing 787, which is normally used on the Perth-Auckland route, is kept on call as a reserve “to maintain the stability of the overall plan”.

“We had none of those contingencies available during the really busy holiday season in July and at times we were hit with disruptions and operational challenges,” said Jeremy O’Brien, Air New Zealand’s general manager short haul Executive Traveler.

“So this provides us with a buffer against those unforeseen circumstances by releasing an aircraft that can be deployed in the short term… it builds network resilience so that if something were to happen, we could recover very quickly.”

The A330, delivered by Madrid-based Wamos Air, will have its own crew, which in turn will free up more pilots and cabin crew from Air New Zealand, while the airline continues to recruit and train pilots and crew to keep the airline afloat and “a situation to avoid having to cancel a flight at the last minute.”

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

O’Brien described Wamos as “a really trusted operator, used to delivering a premium product… and their aircraft, which we flew to Madrid and inspected, is a really modern A330, refreshed in 2020.”

The Star Alliance member’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner will return to Perth from February 17, 2023 – until then, the following will change the passenger experience.

Business class passengers will still enjoy a fully lie-flat bed – but it will be a more conventional, forward-facing seat with a 1-2-1 layout, allowing travelers with a partner to select one of the paired “honeymoon mode” seats mid.

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

These also provide more personal space and storage around the seat, with AC and USC outlets conveniently located at the foot of the seat, near the armrest and next to a pocket perfect for a tablet or book.

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

Business class in a leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

Each passenger receives “a full Air New Zealand meal service and drinks,” promises the airline. That’s another change for the better since meals are usually Not Included in the cheapest Seat or Seat+bag Economy fare.

But with no premium economy Seating – just 260 economy seats, 32 inches apart, in a 2-4-2 layout – Air New Zealand says passengers who have booked Premium will be offered an economy seat, a refund of the fare difference “and we will.” they also give $150 as a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience,” says O’Brien Executive Traveler.

Economy Class in the leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

Economy Class in the leased Wamos A330 from AirNZ.

However, travelers who for any reason prefer not to fly the Wamos A330 “have the option to redeem (their fare) for travel credit valid for 12 months or to request a full refund.”

Finally the Wamos A330 has no wifi – So if you’re used to using Air New Zealand’s free inflight internet service, now is the time to switch off and enjoy an inflight movie or a good book.

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