Auckland-based Air New Zealand says that in response to high demand across its regional and domestic network, the airline has ordered two additional Airbus A321 neo aircraft and two more ATR72-600 turboprops.

These new aircraft will deliver into the Air New Zealand fleet from late 2024.

Th two additional 68-seat ATR aircraft will boost capacity by more than 5,700 seats per week and fly customers to regional destinations like Tauranga and Nelson.

The two new 214-seat Airbus A321 neo aircraft will be configured for international flying and will serve cross-Tasman and Pacific Island routes. They will add more than 9,000 seats per week to the network, “ensuring the airline has more capacity across the Tasman than any other airline”.

These additional four aircraft mean the airline has a total of 16 aircraft joining the fleet including eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus A321 neo and two ATR72-600s, all scheduled for delivery between 2024 and 2028.

The airline will be soon announcing further details on an additional leased Boeing 777-300ER, which will add 3,000 more seats per week to its international network. This would bring the Star Alliance member’s total 777-300ER fleet to eight aircraft.

Air New Zealand also will refurbish its 14 existing Boeing 787-9 aircraft with its new ‘Business Premier Luxe’ cabins. Work is expected to start next year.

Air New Zealand chief executive officer Greg Foran says the additional aircraft are another step to meet demand for travel, growing the airline’s domestic and short haul networks by adding capacity where it’s needed most.

“Flying continues to be in high demand, both here and around the world and it means prices have been higher than usual. The most effective thing we can do to help customers is to welcome more aircraft into our fleet and put more seats in the sky.

“While adding more seats is an important part of working to reduce prices, like all New Zealand businesses our costs continue to rise significantly in many areas, and the reality is that airfares are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Separately, Air New Zealand confirms that its own aircraft and crew will be returning to the Auckland-Perth route from 29 October after a period of operation in partnership with Spanish airline, Wamos Air. The airline will continue operating daily services to Perth, with more than 2,000 seats a week available.

Air New Zealand today announced a net profit of NZ$412 million (US$246 million) for its financial year ended 30 June. This reversed a NZ$591 million net loss recorded the previous year.