Air New Zealand has revealed the world’s largest commercially operated aircraft to be painted completely black, a brand new Boeing 777. And what better way to collect it than with a couple of All Blacks!
World Champion All Blacks rugby players Kieran Read and Andy Ellis ceremonially led the one-of-a-kind Boeing 777-300ER aircraft out of Boeing’s paint hangar facility in Seattle on Friday night, the 16th December (US West Coast Time), highlighting Air New Zealand’s long-time sponsorship of the recently crowned World Champion All Blacks rugby team.
“It’s a sensational looking aircraft and will really turn heads at airports around the world,” said No. 8 loose forward Kieran Read.
“I reckon they should paint all their planes like this!”
All Blacks halfback Andy Ellis felt similarly saying “I always feel a huge amount of pride when I pull on the All Blacks jersey with the silver fern to represent my country on the rugby field and to see that replicated similarly on something this big is just awesome.”
According to Boeing, painting the aircraft took just over a week, two days longer than it normally takes to paint a 777 aircraft. 185 gallons (700 litres) of chrome-free primer and paint was used and involved a total of 14 painters working in shifts 24 hours a day.
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.
“It was, without a doubt, one of the most challenging paint jobs we’ve ever done, but the paint team was up for the challenge and the results are absolutely outstanding. I am very proud of what the paint team has achieved,” said Jeff Klemann, Boeing Vice President Everett Delivery Center.
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 all black paint job.
“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 242 feet (73.9 metres) long,” says 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.