Air New Zealand has confirmed an earlier commitment to order eight Boeing 787-10s and is also moving closer to selecting a new CEO.

The carrier’s shareholders approved a firm order for the 787-10s on Sept. 25, with options for 12 more. A letter of intent for the aircraft was signed in May and the terms of the deal, valued at $2.7 billion at list prices, remain essentially unchanged in the firm order, the carrier told ATW. That means Air New Zealand has substitution rights to swap any of the -10s for the -9 version.

The aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving in late 2022. The 787s will be powered by GE GEnx-1B engines rather than the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on the airline’s fleet of 13 787-9s. The GE engine choice has also been previously signaled. Air New Zealand will use the latest order to replace its eight Boeing 777-200ERs.

Air New Zealand is one of the 787 operators significantly affected by widespread problems with the Trent 1000s. The carrier has had up to five of its 787s grounded at once over the past 12 months while engines have been sent to Singapore for tests and fixes. There are currently no 787s grounded because of the engine issue, outgoing CEO Christopher Luxon said during the airline’s annual shareholder conference.

After dealing with the engine issue for the past two years, the airline is now “largely through it” and can “see light at the end of the tunnel,” Luxon said. 

Outgoing chairman Tony Carter said the airline has held “a very positive negotiation” with Rolls regarding financial compensation, “and we have received benefits that will be in excess of our contractual entitlements.” Specifics remain confidential, however, he said.

Luxon and Carter stepped down from their roles at the shareholder meeting, and CFO Jeff McDowall has been named interim CEO until a permanent replacement can be found.

The global search for a CEO “is progressing very well,” new board chair Therese Walsh said. The level of interest in the role and the caliber of applicants have been high, and “we hope to make an announcement on a new CEO in the next month or so,” she said. The airline will also name a new board member soon.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com