(Bloomberg) -- Air New Zealand Ltd. is bringing more Boeing Co. 777-300 widebody aircraft out of storage to help cater to a faster-than-expected rebound in travel demand.
The carrier has four 777-300s in storage in the Mojave Desert city of Victorville, California. The first of those will be brought out for maintenance in late August, with plans for it to rejoin the fleet next month, the company said in a statement. The aircraft have been there since 2020.
Airlines stored thousands of planes, often in desert facilities where conditions are warm and dry, as Covid-19 upended air travel. Now that people are wanting to fly again after most of the world dropped virus-related restrictions, the aviation industry is rushing to keep up with demand.
“No one could ever predict what would happen in the pandemic and now that demand has bounced back quicker than anticipated, we knew it was time to bring these aircraft back from Victorville,” Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Alex Marren said in the statement.
“These aircraft going into service means we’re rehiring more cabin crew, pilots and engineers,” Marren said. “It’s a welcome change from the type of flying our operating aircrew did through the height of the pandemic and for those stepping back onto a 777-300 for the first time in more than two years, it will be an emotional reunion with one of their favorite aircraft.”
Air New Zealand also had three 777-300s in storage in Auckland over the last two years. Two of those are back in service already and the other is due to return in the coming weeks, the airline said. The widebody is Air New Zealand’s largest aircraft and can carry up to 342 passengers.
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