The first charter plane has arrived to fill gaps for Air New Zealand while it gets its Dreamliner Rolls-Royce engines repaired.
The aircraft from Portuguese company Hi Fly arrived on Monday evening and is expected to enter service tomorrow morning on two Auckland-Sydney sectors. The second aircraft is expected to arrive in Auckland this weekend.
Air New Zealand is chartering an Airbus A330 and an A340 as the engines on some of its Dreamliners are repaired.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has written to customers advising that the cabin product and service style will be different on the leased planes.
Luxon thanked passengers for their patience as the company worked through "these unexpected challenges" with the Rolls-Royce engine issues on its Boeing 787-9 fleet. Some flights have been cancelled and delays have stretched up to 15 hours as a result.
Rolls-Royce has accelerated engine inspection and repair work following problems on two aircraft within two days last week. In the most serious case, one engine was badly damaged by a failed turbine blade shortly after takeoff from Auckland, on a flight to Japan.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said Rolls-Royce had deployed a ''significant resource'' into Auckland to support the airline's engineering team.
It was expediting the transport of three engines requiring maintenance to its facility in Singapore over the coming week and giving them priority for repair.
Two engines already at the facility would return to the Air New Zealand fleet over coming weeks - one was expected back around Christmas and another in the New Year. An additional new spare engine will arrive before the end of the month, the spokeswoman said.
The Trent 1000 engine problem was affecting Dreamliners around the world.
Luxon said in his letter that passengers would notice a difference in the products and service style they were used to. Under the terms of the wet lease, the flights would be operated by Hi Fly crew and pilots, as Air New Zealand staff are not trained to operate the A330 and A340 aircraft.
"Please be assured we are doing our best to ensure customers will feel at home during their journey, including having some Air New Zealand crew assisting the Hi Fly staff on board,'' Luxon said.
Among disrupted flights today is an Auckland-Perth service delayed for 15 hours. Tomorrow it is cancelled and there are further delays on Saturday.
''I'd like to take this opportunity to thank customers affected over the past week for their patience as we work through these unexpected challenges,'' said Luxon.
About 200 Rolls-Royce engines on Dreamliners around the world have been affected by turbine blade problems. The small parts are prone to corrosion on older engines and need replacing.
Hi Fly has been operating since 2005 and has a one A321, five A330s and five A340s.
Its aircraft have been used around the world.
The spokeswoman said each Hi Fly crew member has been linked up with a local buddy to help them with any local information. There was a BBQ for Hi Fly crew in the courtyard at Air New Zealand's head office yesterday.
''From a customer perspective, we are continuing to proactively contact customers who supplied contact details with their booking to let them know of flight disruptions and a small number of cancellations,'' she said.
Passengers were being re-accommodated either on other Air New Zealand services or another carrier, or could choose to receive a full refund.