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What is ‘Hangar 22’?: The mystery surrounding Air NZ’s top-secret innovation lab & More Breaking News Headlines Today

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Written by enews

Everyone loves a good mystery, but Air New Zealand doesn’t seem to have generated the kind of speculation it would have hoped for with its latest offering.

The airline shared an image on social media on Monday morning of engineering crew walking towards two giant doors emblazoned with the number 22, teasing its followers with the caption “After 5 years, the doors of Hangar 22 are finally opening”.

For some, the post brought to mind ‘Area 51’: the US desert military base which conspiracy theorists believe the government uses to study captured alien aircraft.

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Others just wanted to know when the airline, still dealing with a contact centre crisis, was going to answer their calls.

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In its posts to social media, Air NZ said ‘the doors of Hangar 22 are finally opening’ after five years.

Air New Zealand/Twitter

In its posts to social media, Air NZ said ‘the doors of Hangar 22 are finally opening’ after five years.

“Is that where your customer service personnel have been locked up? Or is it where the only person capable of answering a phone sits?” one person asked.

“What’s in Hangar 22? Emails that you don’t respond to or a PBX with disk space for never repeat hold music?” another said.

Hangar 22 is the airline’s top-secret product development facility – an “innovation lab” where highly confidential new products are tested out and tweaked, sometimes over years.

It is where the airline developed its potentially groundbreaking ‘Economy Skynest’ prototype, which would enable economy passengers to lie flat in “sleep pods”.

Air New Zealand's submission to the US Department of Transport offered a first look at its new business class product.

Supplied

Air New Zealand’s submission to the US Department of Transport offered a first look at its new business class product.

For the past five years, the airline has been working on new deluxe business class seats with sliding doors for privacy.

Unveiled in a submission to the US Department of Transport earlier this year, the “Business Premier Luxe” seats will be located at the front of the business class cabin of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. In the filing, they are referred to as “suites”, which will be about as long as a queen-sized mattress.

Air New Zealand asked for the seats to be approved by April 29, 2022 “so that it may proceed with certification and installation”, suggesting it is eager to have them ready for the launch of its new nonstop Auckland to New York service in September.

With multiple international routes set to resume in July, the time does seem to be ripe for a revamp of the aircraft which have been gathering mothballs in storage. A comprehensive overhaul of the cabin space seems not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Details on the work going on at Hangar 22 are set to be released on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

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