Air New Zealand has been forced to ground aircraft following a global engine shortage, reported by Stuff Travel of New Zealand.
As a result, Air New Zealand says a staggering 150,000 passengers will be impacted following the grounding of two aircraft. As such, the airline has specifically taken two Airbus A321neos out of service.
The New Zealand flag carrier says they don’t have enough engines, despite spares and much more. It follows a worldwide shortage impacting Pratt and Whitney engines on the A320neo and A321neo fleets. As Air New Zealand utilities these engines, they’ve been hit directly.
Carriers worldwide are facing the same issue at the same time as the scheduled removal of engines co-occurs. This means that there are even more pressures being felt on supply chains.
Even worse, Air New Zealand says that such an engine problem will not likely stick around for a couple of months. Instead, the airline is forecasting this to remain for the calendar year.
Although the grounding causes an inconvenience, Air New Zealand is choosing to look at it in a different light. They say they’ve managed this so well they’ve only been forced to ground two aircraft. In many other cases, the groundings could’ve been far more impactful.
Air New Zealand began the removal of ageing Airbus narrowbodies years ago in favour of the more efficient new engine option, more commonly referred to as neo.
Per Cirium data, the airline currently has 104 aircraft in service. Of that include 9 Airbus A321neos and 6 Airbus A320neos. For both new variants, their oldest unit is around the 4-and-a-half-year mark. At the same time, some of the youngest can only be months old.
While delays are not what customers want to experience, especially the airline, as the costs incurred can be significant, Air New Zealand has plotted its schedule so that while customers may be impacted, there won’t be hefty delays to their travel plans even with these aircraft out of action.
Air New Zealand isn’t unfamiliar with wet-leasing aircraft on. Over the years, they’ve been impacted by the Boeing 787 crisis involving Trent 1000 engines and much more. It’s an unfortunate series of events for the operator, but time and time again, they’ve proved to be prepared.