Stunning timelapse shows Air NZ's new 787-9
Air New Zealand's striking first Boeing 787-9 has been revealed at the Boeing factory near Seattle.
There will be no mistaking which fleet the plane belongs to - the aircraft bears a distinctive new all black livery with the New Zealand Fern Mark emblazoned across the rear of the plane.
The new paint job took five days to complete and was done by 12 painters using around 350 litres of paint.
White versions of the design have been gradually rolled out across the airline's A320 domestic fleet in recent months.
"It's great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft," said Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan.
"This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instill a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific."
The aircraft is the first of ten 787-9 Dreamliners to join Air New Zealand's fleet.
Air New Zealand is the global launch customer for the 787-9, which is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the aircraft it is replacing. It also offers 20 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions.
Passengers will appreciate the aircraft's fresher cabin air, which will be drawn directly from outside rather than through the engines. The air will be more humid and pressurised at a lower level, resulting in passengers feeling better at the end of their flights.
The aircraft also boasts larger windows and a more spacious cabin, with large stow bins, modern LED lighting and a smoother ride.
It will also feature 18 lie-flat seats in business class in a so-called ''herringbone'' layout, and a premium economy cabin in a two-three-two seat configuration.
The two economy cabins of the aircraft will seat 263 passengers.
Introduction of the new aircraft, however, has not been without its problems.
Delayed for several years, the Dreamliner has faced criticism over its reliability from some carriers. All active aircraft were grounded for three months last year after a battery fire on one Dreamliner. The incident forced Boeing to re-design the powerful lithium-ion battery and enclose it in a tough new steel containment box.
Boeing admitted in January it was not satisfied with the aircraft's performance. The Dreamliner's reliability rate was at about 98 per cent - this meant that two out of every 100 flights were delayed for mechanical problems.
The rate was higher than the 97 per cent recorded in October but was still short of Boeing's target. The company aims to have the aircraft's reliability up to the level of its long-range 777 model, which has a reliability rate of 99.4 per cent.
Air New Zealand's new 787-9 will operate the Auckland to Perth route from 15 October.