The Dark Knight rises: Air New Zealand’s fleet of black planes ready for liftoff.

That black metal object flying through the sky isn’t a UFO. It isn’t Batman.

It’s Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 787-9 aircraft bearing the airline’s distinctive new look.

The all-black fleet of planes, revealed this week at Boeing’s Everett factory near Seattle, will soon become the first 787-9 in commercial operation. Air New Zealand expects to add the planes to its fleet later this year.

The white version of the livery has been gradually rolled out across the airline’s A320 domestic fleet in recent months. The 787-9 is ANZ’s first black plane.

Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan, who was in Seattle for the unveiling, says it’s exciting to see the 787-9 in Air New Zealand colors for the first time.

“It’s great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft,” Morgan said. “This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instill a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific.”

ANZ says the paint job took five days to complete and was done by 12 painters using around 350 liters of paint.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, ANZ claims the new planes are 20 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft they replace. The 787-9 will operate the Auckland-to-Perth route starting October 15, and to both Tokyo and Shanghai starting in November.

J.P. Hoornstra
I write about the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Southern California News Group and destination travel for various media outlets, including the New York Daily News.

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