Air New Zealand is discreetly developing a new business class seat product behind closed doors, in time for it to outfit them on a new wave of next-generation aircraft.
Reportedly being developed at a test site named “Hangar 22”, according to the New Zealand Herald, the new seats would replace the airline’s existing business premier seats that the airline rolled out about a decade ago.
“Whatever you land on is going to be on board an aircraft for a decade plus, so you have to get it right,” Mike Tod, Air New Zealand’s chief marketing and customer officer, told the Herald. “And part of getting it right involves a little bit of crystal ball gazing. In our case we have to look out as far as 2030.
“We have been having a bunch of super interesting conversations across different industries around the globe trying to distil down what common themes we need to be thinking about, while at the same time identifying partners who share the same vision for the future of air travel.”
No details of the seats under development have yet been unveiled, though there is a good chance the products will be rolled out by 2022 when the airline aims to take delivery of new aircraft to replace its older Boeing 777-200s.
Air New Zealand has yet to make a firm decision on which aircraft it will be ordering, though Boeing’s upcoming B777X and Airbus’s A350 have both been speculated as being the most likely contenders.
In October last year, Air New Zealand took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to feature a new layout with additional premium seating.
Unlike its previous nine Dreamliners, the airline’s four new-configuration aircraft have 27 rather than 18 business premier seats, and 33 rather than 21 premium economy seats.
Meanwhile in February, the airline said it planned to lease an additional Dreamliner in 2020, bringing the total up to 14.