Air New Zealand’s newest plane model is set to take flight this afternoon, with its first commercial voyage slated to be a trip across the Tasman.
The A321neo, the first of 13 “neos” that the airline has bought from plane manufacturer Airbus, arrived in New Zealand earlier this month.
Its maiden commercial flight will be NZ739 from Auckland to Brisbane.
The aeroplane is distinguished by its new engine design. But it is also stands out from the fleet due “a really neat feature” that isn’t available on the company’s other narrow-bodied aircraft, said Doug Grant, senior manager for customer care and communications
“It can carry a stretcher for medical evacuations and other people who are travelling for quite extreme medical situations,” he said in a promotional video announcing the plane’s debut.
The plane also has the capacity for 46 more passengers, airline officials said.
Airbus has touted its new neo models, which it began delivering last year, as having minimal visible change from its baseline models but increased efficiency. It delivers fuel improvements of 20 per cent per seat, 900 kilometres of additional range, bringing the total range to 7400, and the ability to transport two tonnes of extra payload, the company boasts on its website.