The A330-200 is hardly the most flexible of designs. The 767 series can currently carry between 200 and 240 pax for the airline, which is absolutely ideal for Trans Tasman, Sth Pacific and Asian routes. The only real problem is the cargo carrying abilities, from what I hear.
Also, the A330 is considerably heavier and not really suited for such short hops of 3 hours or so. Thus, Air NZ
would have to underutilise the Airbus, which is hardly ideal from an efficiency viewpoint. If you're gonna pay extra for a plane that can fly longer haul, you should use it accordingly.
I see the 7E7 as more of a long-term possibility. The 767-300s aren't very old and are in no need of immediate replacement. Maybe in 5-7 years time? Which would put the 7E7 as a genuine option (if it is launched of course).
The problem with the Airbus option is that there will be no 400-450 seater in its range, with a considerable leap from 380 seats in the A340-600 to the 555 seats in the A380. Another point is that Air NZ
has a lot of room to expand on frequencies. LAX
is gradually moving to thrice daily (this is probably the only route where frequency is reaching its maximum), Tokyo is daily, London still only daily, Hong Kong seems to fluctuate a lot and Singapore is still with the SQ
codeshare and three times per week (???) NZ
Perhaps new routes could be opened, more point to point ones, instead of a complete focus on LAX
comes to mind, as does perhaps a CHC
service. I'm assuming the 744s can make these distances. Indeed it would be interesting if this is the approach NZ
takes. If so, it will have a long-term impact on its fleet requirements.