Close

Big black bird to take to the skies

Big black bird to take to the skies

Air New Zealand has lifted the hood on the world’s largest commercially operated aircraft to be painted completely black.

All Blacks Kieran Read and Andy Ellis led the one-of-a-kind 777-300ER out of Boeing’s paint hangar facility in Seattle on Friday night.

According to Boeing, painting the aircraft took just over a week, two days longer than it normally takes to paint a 777. A total of 14 painters working in shifts 24 hours a day used 700 litres of chrome-free primer and paint in the process.

Prepping and painting the aircraft entirely black took one and a half days, followed by a further five days for the intricate detail of the silver fern overlaid on it and the Koru symbol. Remaining time was spent on the finishing touches.

Contrary to popular belief, the black paint won’t cause the aircraft to heat up a great deal. In fact, the more than 330 individual TV screens inside the aircraft create more additional heat than the paint job, according to Air New Zealand.

“The all black colour scheme and silver fern are a key part of both New Zealand’s and the All Blacks’ identity, so we’re excited to be able to take that iconic imagery to the world on a flying billboard that’s more than 73.9 metres long,” said Air New Zealand group general manager international airline Christopher Luxon.

“It will certainly get people’s attention when they see it at Auckland, Los Angeles, London Heathrow and Melbourne airports over the coming year.”

The aircraft is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand in late January following the completion of its interior fit out.

By mid next year Air New Zealand will have six aircraft featuring the all black livery including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900D turbo-props.