From launch to legacy: Celebrating a decade of the Dreamliner

Today marks a decade of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner soaring through the skies of Aotearoa as Air New Zealand celebrates the anniversary of its game-changing aircraft.
11 July 2024

On this day in 2014, the national carrier flew the groundbreaking Dreamliner into Auckland for the first time after it had signed on to be the global launch customer for the aircraft.

In the years since, the aircraft has redefined long-haul travel for millions of passengers. Air New Zealand has carried more than 11 million customers on 59,000 Dreamliner flights, resulting in a remarkable 475,000 flying hours.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the Dreamliner was a transformative aircraft for the airline, marking a step change in the onboard travel experience.

"From day one, customers have been captivated by the Dreamliner's features. The aircraft was designed with the customer comfort experience front of mind. It introduced the largest electronically dimmable windows of any passenger jet, transformed onboard comfort with the cabin pressurised at 6,000 feet, leaving passengers feeling fresher and better rested when flying on the Dreamliner, and featured an onboard turbulence management system for a smoother ride.

"The aircraft introduced new technology that transformed the travel experience for customers and the flying experience for pilots. Customers saw touch screen in flight entertainment for the first time, marking the beginning of the end for the onboard remote control. For pilots, the state-of-the-art flight deck transformed the flying experience at the front of the aircraft too.

"What's more, the Dreamliner also changed the game when it came to aircraft emissions. Its design means it is 20 percent more fuel efficient than other aircraft of its size, making it the ideal aircraft to invest in on our journey to decarbonisation.

"The Dreamliner was a crucial aircraft in the expansion of our network. Its design and fuel efficiency mean it's the perfect aircraft for ultra long haul travel. Because of the Dreamliner, we were able to expand our network in 2022 to include our flagship route to New York."

Looking to the future, Air New Zealand is continuing to invest in the Dreamliner, with its current fleet getting an upgrade, as well as having eight new Dreamliners on order.

"We will soon become the first airline in the world to fully retrofit a Dreamliner nose to tail. This means we will begin introducing our brand new cabin interiors on our existing aircraft, including our redesigned Business Premier cabin, a brand new hard shell Premium Economy seat, and updated product throughout Economy.

"In 2025, we're expecting the delivery of our first new Dreamliner from Boeing. Our first aircraft will include our new interior products and will have the added bonus of the highly anticipated Skynest.

"We know our customers are eagerly anticipating the next evolution of our Dreamliners and we can't wait for them to experience our most innovative aircraft to date."

Fast facts on Air New Zealand's 787-9 Dreamliners:

  • In 2004 Air New Zealand placed its first order for the 787 Dreamliner 
  • On 1 January 2014 a Boeing 787-9 test aircraft visited Auckland
  • Air New Zealand headed to Seattle on 29 May 2014 to operate a test flight above the city
  • On 11 July 2014 Air New Zealand became the launch customer of the 787-9 Dreamliner, with its first aircraft arriving in Auckland
  • Air New Zealand operated its inaugural commercial Dreamliner flight from Auckland to Perth on 12 September 2014
  • The 787-9s are up to 20% more fuel efficient with 20% fewer emissions than similarly sized aircraft
  • Dreamliners offer an enhanced onboard experience, with large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air, and a smoother ride
  • Air New Zealand's Dreamliners have completed an impressive 59,000 flights
  • Resulting in a remarkable 475,000 flying hours
  • More than 11 million passengers have experienced the comfort and innovation of the Dreamliner with Air New Zealand
  • Air New Zealand has eight Dreamliners on order, with the first expected to arrive in 2025

Please find archival video and images of Air New Zealand's Dreamliners here




Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

Email:  │  Phone: +64 21 747 320 

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.


About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.