Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland Int'l) has delayed the delivery of its first B787-10s by up to one year citing the prolonged impact of the pandemic on longhaul travel demand to/from the South Pacific.

The carrier ordered eight of the type in September 2019 with deliveries to have run from September 2022 through 2027. However, in a recent market update, the airline said it had managed to reach an agreement with Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) to defer the first B787-10's arrival to some point during its FY2024 season (i.e. July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024).

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air New Zealand's B787-10 order book has now been cut by one to just seven alongside a single B787-9 (due in September next year). It also has orders with Airbus for two A320-200Ns (due in 2023) and seven A321-200NXs (due between June 2023 and June 2025) alongside one ATR72-600 from Avions de Transport Régional due in 2022/3.

Though it did not comment specifically on these other orders, Air New Zealand did note that it "retains the ability to utilise a number of further contractual delivery deferral rights on other aircraft due to be delivered from 2024 onward.

Air New Zealand's fleet currently entails twenty A320-200s, four A320-200Ns, seven A321-200NXs, twenty-eight ATR72-600s, eight (parked) B777-200(ER)s, seven (parked) B777-300(ER)s, fourteen B787-9s, and twenty-three DHC-8-Q300s.

Commenting on its current financial standing, the company said it had had positive EBITDA since September 2020 and had been operating cash-flow positive since the second quarter of the 2021 financial year (i.e. 4Q20), albeit that this performance had benefitted from the government’s air cargo support schemes, wage subsidies, and other aviation relief packages totalling approximately NZD300 million New Zealand dollars (USD208.1 million).

However, it warned that its operating environment remains "challenging and uncertain" with the potential for adverse developments regarding timeframes of international border re-openings, progress of global vaccination programmes, and recovery levels for customer demand.

"While demand on the airline’s domestic and short-haul networks is currently showing positive momentum, if there are further border restrictions or lockdowns there is no certainty that this momentum will continue," it said.