Air New Zealand said it is grounding its entire Boeing 777 fleet until September 2021 due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
The airline announced that its three remaining 777-300s would remain grounded in Auckland, as a precaution in case they are needed to make a quick reentry into service. However, Air New Zealand’s chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui was not optimistic, saying that the carrier’s international network recovery is looking slower than originally anticipated.
The airline had cut 3,750 jobs, nearly 30% of its 12,500-strong workforce in March.
After suffering its first recorded loss of $50 million since 2002, New Zealand’s flag carrier turned to downsizing. The airline set its 777-200ERs for the long term storage. Now, four of its 777-300 brethren will join the already grounded aircraft in California, where it will stay at least until September 2021.
Just like Qantas 787s, Air New Zealand chose to store its aircraft in California due to the superior climate conditions and the arid terrain compared to the weather in Oceania.
Air New Zealand owns a combined Boeing 777 fleet of 15 aircraft, seven of which are 777-300 (four owned and three leased) and eight 777-200ER (four owned and four leased).