Air New Zealand has extended its sponsorship deal with the All Blacks New Zealand rugby team, committing to another four years supporting the Rugby World Cup winning team and painting two of its new aircraft in the team’s black livery to celebrate.

The new extension will see the airline complete 20 years as official sponsor to the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). The first plane to receive the new All Blacks livery will be an Airbus A320 being delivered to Air NZ at the end of October, complete with glossy black paint and the ‘Crazy About Rugby’ slogan which already adorns one of the airline’s A320 planes. Eagle Air, the company’s regional arm, will also have three of its fleet of Beech 1900D aircraft all-black.

By far the largest paint job being undertaken will be for a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft due to be delivered in January 2012. The Boeing is the longest plane in the Air NZ fleet and it is believed the All Blacks-branded version will be the largest all-black painted aircraft in the world. Rob Fyfe, chief executive officer at Air New Zealand, expressed his delight at the ongoing partnership between the two Kiwi organisations.

“We’re committed to helping ensure the All Blacks are well placed to do it again in 2015,” said Mr Fyfe, speaking about the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which the All Blacks won in Auckland last weekend. NZRU chief executive Steve Tew also welcomed the new deal. “New Zealand Rugby, the All Blacks and our national carrier share a distinctly Kiwi identity and pride, as well as sharing a drive for excellence and determination to be the best,” said Mr Tew.

“We’re excited to be on board with Air New Zealand for the next four years.”