AUCKLAND – Air New Zealand is predicting dramatic growth in premium travel, specifically Premium Economy, with its new fleet of Boeing 777-300 aircraft to have 39 per cent more seats in this class than on its 777-200 aircraft and 28 per cent more than on its 747-400 fleet.
"Our Premium Economy cabin has shown itself to be recession proof, with demand continuing to rise since its introduction in 2005," said Air New Zealand group general manager international airline, Ed Sims.
"While the nature of our long haul sectors has leant itself to selling the added space and service of Premium Economy, none of this has come at the expense of Business Premier, which offers one of the longest beds in the sky," Sims added.
Air New Zealand's new 'Spaceseat' is a totally new concept for Premium Economy in the airline industry, providing flexibility and privacy through the angle of the seats. They will be configured in a 2-2-2 layout, compared to the industry standard 3-3-3 in 777-200s.
"There was no Premium Economy seat available in the market that delivered the exclusive style of customer experience we were looking for. The only answer was to design our own," Sims said.
"This is a game changing product for Premium Economy which will have our competitors playing catch up for several years. Already Boeing has indicated they're interested in the seats as a Business Class option for their 737 range."
The 340 seat 777-300 aircraft will be configured with 246 in Economy (including 66 seats creating 22 Skycouch combinations), 50 in Premium Economy and 44 in Business Premier.
Air New Zealand said Premium Economy will be priced similar to today's Premium Economy airfares, starting from a third more than standard Economy fares.