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Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 26 April 1940 (26 April 1940) (as TEAL)[1]
Commenced operations 1 April 1965
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Airpoints
Airport lounge Koru Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Subsidiaries Air New Zealand Link
Fleet size 106[2] (incl. subsidiaries)
Destinations 55 (incl. subsidiaries)
Company slogan The airline of Middle earth[3]
Parent company New Zealand Government (53%)[4]
Headquarters Wynyard Quarter, Auckland City, New Zealand[5]
Key people
  • Christopher Luxon, CEO[6]
  • Norm Thompson, Deputy CEO
Revenue NZ$4,618 million (2013)[7]
Operating income NZ$898m (2013)[7]
Profit NZ$327m NET (2015)[8]
Total assets NZ$5,612m (2013)[7]
Total equity NZ$1,816m (2013)[7]
Employees 11,000 (April, 2014)

Air New Zealand Limited (NZX: AIR, ASX: AIZ) is the national airline and flag carrier of New Zealand. Based in Auckland, the airline operates scheduled passenger flights to 22 domestic and 26 international destinations in 15 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.[9] The airline has been a member of the Star Alliance since 1999.[9]

Air New Zealand originated in 1940 as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), a flying boat company operating trans-Tasman flights between New Zealand and Australia. TEAL became wholly owned by the New Zealand government in 1965, whereupon it was renamed Air New Zealand. The airline mainly served international routes until 1978, when the government merged it and the domestic-orientated New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC) into a single airline under the Air New Zealand name. Air New Zealand was largely privatised in 1989, but returned to majority government ownership in 2001 after a failed tie up with Australian carrier Ansett Australia (when Ansett suffered financial issues and folded operations during that year). As of 2014, Air New Zealand carries 13.7 million passengers annually.[9]

Air New Zealand's route network focuses on Australasia and the South Pacific, with long-haul services to East Asia, North America and the United Kingdom. It was the last airline to circumnavigate the world because of its flagship NZ1/2 (Heathrow – Los Angeles – Auckland) and NZ39/38 (Auckland – Hong Kong – Heathrow) flights, the latter of which ended in March 2013 when Air New Zealand stopped Hong Kong – London flights, in favour of a code sharing deal with Cathay Pacific.[10][11] The airline's main hub is Auckland Airport, located near Mangere in the southern part of the Auckland urban area.[12] Air New Zealand is headquartered in a building called "The Hub", located 20 km (12 mi) away from Auckland Airport, in the Western Reclamation, in central Auckland.[13]

Air New Zealand currently operates an international long-haul fleet consisting of mainly the Boeing 777 variant family, with Boeing 767-300 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft supplementing them. Airbus A320 aircraft operate on short-haul international routes (i.e. to Australia and the Pacific Islands), and on domestic routes. Air New Zealand's regional subsidiaries, Air Nelson, Eagle Airways, and Mount Cook Airline, operate additional short-haul New Zealand domestic services using turboprop aircraft. Air New Zealand was awarded Airline of the Year in 2010[14] and 2012[15] by the Air Transport World Global Airline Awards.


  • History 1
    • Merger with Ansett 1.1
    • 21st century 1.2
  • Corporate affairs and identity 2
    • Head office 2.1
    • Subsidiaries 2.2
      • Operations subsidiaries 2.2.1
      • Technical subsidiaries 2.2.2
    • Awards 2.3
    • Sponsorships 2.4
    • Brand and livery 2.5
      • Brand 2.5.1
      • Livery history 2.5.2
      • Special liveries 2.5.3
  • Destinations 3
    • Codeshare agreements 3.1
  • Fleet 4
    • Current fleet 4.1
    • Fleet plans 4.2
    • Historic fleet 4.3
  • Cabin 5
    • Long-haul international 5.1
      • Business Premier 5.1.1
      • Business 5.1.2
      • Pacific Premium Economy 5.1.3
      • Premium Economy Spaceseat 5.1.4
      • Pacific Economy 5.1.5
      • Economy SkyCouch 5.1.6
      • In-flight entertainment and magazine 5.1.7
    • Tasman and Pacific 5.2
    • Domestic 5.3
  • Services 6
    • Koru Lounge 6.1
    • Check-in kiosks 6.2
    • Airpoints 6.3
  • Advertising and promotion 7
    • Nothing to Hide campaign 7.1
    • All Blacks Safety Video 7.2
    • Rico 7.3
    • Mile High Madness 7.4
    • The Hobbit 7.5
    • The Bear Essentials 7.6
    • Safety Old School Style 7.7
    • Men in Black 7.8
  • Incidents and accidents 8
  • Controversy 9
    • Outsourcing maintenance 9.1
    • Minor seating policy 9.2
    • Qantas code-share 9.3
  • Alternative propulsion 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


A Douglas DC-8 at Sydney Airport in the early 1970s. Air New Zealand was an early operator of the DC-8. Note the pre-1973 livery with the Southern Cross on the tail.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was first delivered in 1973, and were the first Air NZ aircraft to feature the now ubiquitous koru logo.
The Boeing 747-200 was introduced in 1981; the 747, both -200 and -400 variants, was a mainstay of Air New Zealand's fleet until the early 2010s.
Air New Zealand introduced its first Boeing 767 in 1985

Air New Zealand began as TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) in 1940, operating Short Empire flying boats on trans-Tasman routes. Following World War II, TEAL operated weekly flights from Auckland to Sydney, and added Wellington and Fiji to its routings. The New Zealand and Australian governments purchased 50% stakes in TEAL in 1953,[16] and the airline ended flying boat operations in favour of propeller and turboprop airliners by 1960. With the introduction of the DC-8 in 1965, TEAL became Air New Zealand—the New Zealand government having purchased Australia's 50% stake in the carrier.[16]

With the increased range of the Douglas DC-8s, its first jet aircraft, Air New Zealand began transpacific services to the United States and Asia, and added Los Angeles and Honolulu as destinations in 1965. The airline further acquired wide-body McDonnell Douglas DC-10 airliners, the first of which arrived in 1973. Alongside the DC-10's introduction came a new koru-inspired logo for the airline, which remains to this day.

In 1978, the domestic airline National Airways Corporation (NAC) and its subsidiary Safe Air were merged into Air New Zealand to form a single national airline, further expanding the carrier's operations. As a result, NAC's Boeing 737 and Fokker F27 aircraft joined Air New Zealand's fleet alongside its DC-8 and DC-10 airliners. The merger also resulted in the airline having two IATA airline designators: TE from Air New Zealand and NZ from the NAC. TE continued to be used for international flights and NZ for domestic flights until 1990, when international flights assumed the NZ code.[16]

In 1981, Air New Zealand introduced its first Boeing 747 airliner, and a year later initiated service to London via Los Angeles. The five 747-200s owned by Air New Zealand were all named after ancestral Maori canoes. 1985 saw the introduction of Boeing 767-200ER airliners to fill the large size gap between the Boeing 737 and 747 (the DC-8 and DC-10 had been withdrawn by 1983). In 1989 the airline was privatised with a sale to a consortium headed by Brierley Investments Ltd.[16] (with remaining stakes held by Qantas, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, and the New Zealand government). The New Zealand air transport market underwent deregulation in 1990, prompting Air New Zealand to acquire a 50% stake in Ansett Australia in 1995.

In March 1999, Air New Zealand became a member of the Star Alliance. From 1999 through 2000, Air New Zealand became embroiled in an ownership battle over Ansett with co-owner News Limited over a possible sale of the under-performing carrier to Singapore Airlines.

Merger with Ansett

In 2000, Air New Zealand announced that it had chosen instead to acquire the entirety of Ansett Australia (increasing its 50% stake in the carrier to 100%) for A$680 million from News Corporation Ltd. Many believe this to have been a critical mistake, as Ansett's fleet, staffing levels and infrastructure far outweighed that of Air NZ. Subsequently, both carriers' profitability came under question, and foreign offers to purchase the Air New Zealand Group were considered. In September 2001, plagued by costs it could not possibly afford, the Air New Zealand / Ansett Group neared collapse. A failed attempt at purchasing Virgin Blue was the final straw, and on 12 September, out of both time and cash, Air New Zealand placed Ansett Australia into voluntary administration, following which Ansett was forced to cease operations. Air New Zealand announced a NZ$1.425 billion operating loss.[16]

21st century

Air New Zealand added the Boeing 777-200ER to its fleet in 2004. As of 2014, the 777-200ER and the larger -300ER form the core of the airline's long-haul fleet.

In October 2001, Air New Zealand was re-nationalised under a New Zealand government NZ$885 million rescue plan (with the government taking a 76.5% stake), and subsequently received new leadership. This act was the only thing that spared Air New Zealand from also going into administration, without which it too would have joined its now bankrupt subsidiary, Ansett, and likely would have been grounded.

In 2002, Air New Zealand reconfigured its domestic operations under a low-cost airline business plan, and the New Zealand government weighed (and later refused) a proposal from Qantas to purchase a one-fifth stake in the carrier. Air New Zealand returned to profitability in 2003, reporting a net profit of $NZ165.7 million for that year. The carrier saw increasing profits through 2004 and 2005.[16] In 2004, the airline announced a comprehensive relaunch of its long-haul product, featuring the introduction of new seats in its business, premium economy, and economy class cabins.

In 2003, Air New Zealand added the Airbus A320 airliner to its fleet for use on short-haul international flights. In 2005, the airline received its first Boeing 777 aircraft (–200ER variant), and placed orders for the Boeing 787 in 2004. The airline later was announced as the launch customer for the -9 variant of the 787.

On 21 December 2010, the New Zealand government approved an alliance between Air New Zealand and Australian airline Virgin Blue (now named Virgin Australia), which allows both airlines to expand operations between Australia and New Zealand with codeshares for trans-Tasman and connecting domestic flights, reciprocal access to lounges and frequent flyer programs. Air New Zealand subsequently purchased a 26% shareholding in Virgin Australia Holdings (the owner of Virgin Australia/V Australia/Pacific Blue/Polynesian Blue) to cement the relationship. It is understood to be a long term holding with Air New Zealand saying that at present it does not wish to own more.

In 2011, Air New Zealand introduced the Boeing 777-300ER airliner, as well as the Economy Skycouch, a set of three economy class seats that could be converted into a flat multi-purpose surface by raising the leg rests. After a four-year delay, Air New Zealand took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in 9 July 2014. On 12 September 2014, the airline withdrew the Boeing 747 after 33 years of service,[17] leaving Air New Zealand with a completely twin-engined jet fleet.

During 18–19 November 2013, Fifth National Government reduced its share in Air New Zealand from 73% to 53% as part of its controversial asset sales programme. It made $365 million from this deal.

Corporate affairs and identity

Head office

"The Hub", Air New Zealand head office

The Air New Zealand head office, "The Hub," is a 15,600 square metres (168,000 sq ft) office park located at the corner of Beaumont and Fanshawe Streets in Western Reclamation Precinct 2, Auckland City;[18][19] it includes two connected six level buildings.[19] The facility consists of a lot of glass to allow sunlight and therefore reduce electricity consumption. The building does not have cubicle walls. Lights automatically turn on at 7:30 A.M. and turn off at 6 P.M. Sensors throughout the building can turn on lights if they detect human activity, and turn off lights if human activity is not detected for 15 minutes.[20] The building cost $60 million New Zealand dollars to build and develop. From late September to early October 2006 the airline moved 1,000 employees from four buildings in the Auckland CBD and some other buildings.[19] "The Hub" is owned by Macquarie Goodman Property Trust. In 2006 the airline took an initial 11-year lease for 4.1 million dollars each year; the rent cost is subject to a yearly review to account for increases in property value.[19]

The company previously had its head office in the Quay Tower in the CBD.[21] In its history the airline had its head office in Airways House on Customs Street East.[22]


Zeal320 logo

Operations subsidiaries

The following are operations subsidiaries of Air New Zealand Limited:

  • Air New Zealand Consulting
  • Air New Zealand Holidays
  • Air New Zealand Cargo

Air New Zealand has four wholly owned subsidiary airlines:

There are three fully integrated regional airlines – Air Nelson, Eagle Airways and Mount Cook Airline – which serve secondary destinations in New Zealand. Together they make up Air New Zealand Link.

Air Nelson Saab 340A (no longer operated) at Auckland Airport
  • Air Nelson is based in Nelson, operating Bombardier Q300s. Flight numbers are in the NZ8000 series.
  • Eagle Airways is based in Hamilton, operating Beechcraft 1900D aircraft. Flight numbers are in the NZ2000 series.
  • Mount Cook Airline is based in Christchurch, operating ATR 72-500 and ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft. Flight numbers are in the NZ5000 series.
  • Zeal320 was introduced to help combat increasing labour costs. Zeal320 operated Air New Zealand's trans-Tasman fleet of Airbus A320-200 aircraft under the Air New Zealand brand. On 31 July 2006, flights were re-numbered to the NZ700-999 series for Trans-Tasman services, and NZ1000 series for Domestic services. All of Air New Zealand's A320-200s were registered to Zeal320 until 26 November 2008, when ownership of the fleet was transferred back to Air New Zealand. However, staff that worked the A320-200 fleet were still employed by this subsidiary. This has been a bone of contention within the airline group in which these employees are paid at a lower scale than their mainline counterparts.[23] Continued industrial action by staff employed in this subsidiary during 2009 permanently delayed a proposed LCC airline as a successor to Freedom Air that would have also employed the Airbus A320 on domestic routes to counter Jetstar Airways, also operating in New Zealand. As of mid-2014, a non-operations company named Zeal320 is registered as active with the New Zealand Companies Office,[24] but this entity does not employ any crew.

Technical subsidiaries

The following are technical operations subsidiaries of Air New Zealand:

  • Air New Zealand Engineering Services
  • TAE[25]
  • Christchurch Engine Centre (50%)
  • Altitude Aerospace Interiors[26]

In June 2015, Air New Zealand confirmed the sale of its Safe Air engineering subsidiary to the Australian arm of Airbus Group[27]


Award Awarded By Notes
Airline of the Year 2012 Air Transport World Global Airline Awards [15]
Best Air Style 2011 Premium Economy Spaceseats Wallpaper Design Awards
Airline of the Year 2010 Air Transport World Global Airline Awards [14]
Best Cabin Staff (Australia/New Zealand Region) 2009 World Airline Awards - Skytrax [28]
Best Passenger Service Award 2008 Air Transport World Magazine Awards [9]
Best Airline to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand 2007 Business Traveler Magazine [9]
Australasia's Leading Business Class Airline 2007 14th Annual World Travel Awards [9]
Airline of the Year 2015 [29]
Australasia's Leading Airline 2009 World Travel Awards [30]
Australasia's Leading Airline 2010 World Travel Awards [31]
Australasia's Leading Airline 2011 World Travel Awards [32]
Australasia's Leading Airline 2012 World Travel Awards [33]
Company of the Year 2014 Deloitte Top 200 [34]
Third Best Long-Haul Carrier 2012 The Daily Telegraph [35]
Best Pacific Airline 1998 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Pacific Airline 1999 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Pacific Airline 2001 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Pacific Airline 2002 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Pacific Airline 2004 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Business Class Carrier 1998 Executive Travel Magazine Awards [16]
Best Pacific Airline 2000 TTG Annual Travel Awards [16]
Best Check-In Staff 1998 Executive Travel Magazine [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 1994 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 1995 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 1996 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 1999 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 2000 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Best Airline to the Pacific 2001 Travel Weekly Globe Awards [16]
Most Google Searched Company in New Zealand 2015 Google Australia & New Zealand [36]
Worlds Best Premium Economy Class 2015 Skytrax World Airline Awards [37]
Best Premium Economy Class Airline Seat 2015 Skytrax World Airline Awards [37]
Best Premium Economy Class Onboard Catering 2015 Skytrax World Airline Awards [37]



Air New Zealand was the title sponsor of the Air New Zealand Cup domestic rugby club competition through the 2009 season.[38] The airline remains a major sponsor of New Zealand rugby, but chose to concentrate its sponsorship in that area on the country's national team, the All Blacks.[39] The airline also sponsors the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Air New Zealand Fashion Export Award.[40]

Other major sponsorship by Air New Zealand:

Brand and livery


Air New Zealand's "Pacific Wave", introduced in 1996
The logo used by Air New Zealand from 1996 to 2012

On 27 March 2006, Air New Zealand embarked on a changeover to a new brand identity, involving a new Zambesi-designed uniform, new logo, new colour scheme and new look check-in counters and lounges. The new uniforms feature a colour palette mirroring the greenstone, teal, schist and slate hues of New Zealand, sea and sky (a Māori motif created by Derek Lardelli) fabric woven from merino wool, and curves inspired by the koru. A greenstone colour replaces the blue Pacific Wave colour, inspired by the colour of the pounamu, the prized gemstone found in New Zealand. The Air New Zealand Koru was woven through all Air New Zealand's signage and products.

Later in 2009 staff were involved in testing fabrics and cuts of uniforms. "'It would be fair to say that the lessons from the development and introduction of the current uniform have been taken on board," said Mr. Fyfe after widespread public and staff criticism.[43]

Livery history

Air New Zealand's koru tail symbol, seen on Boeing 737-300 aircraft ZK-NGM

The Air New Zealand symbol is a Māori koru. It is a stylised representation of a fern frond unfolding, and signifies new life, growth and renewal. The koru was used on the prows of the early Polynesian canoes that sailed the Pacific with its many islands.

The koru was first applied to the tail of Air New Zealand aircraft with the arrival of the DC-10 in 1973, and has remained ever since. The current aircraft livery was adopted in 1996. The koru also appears on the Air New Zealand house flag and flies at international airports such as Los Angeles Airport.

A redesigned logo was unveiled on 21 March 2006. The new logo has been introduced in all advertising, signage and stationery and on planes. The "Pacific Wave" fuselage stripes were removed from short-haul aircraft in 2009, simplifying the overall livery, and was in the process of also being removed from long haul aircraft before the logo change (see below).[44]

A rebranding, possibly one of the biggest in the airline's history, was announced in July 2012. Ditching the teal and green colours that have represented the airline since its early beginnings as Tasman Empire Airways (TEAL) in 1939, they instead moved to a black colour in a joint effort between Air New Zealand, New Zealand design agency Designworks and renowned Kiwi typographer Kris Sowersby, as well as a new logo typeface. The tails of the aircraft and the typeface will be black, while the rest of the fuselage will remain white, and the engine nacelles will be in silver. The iconic koru will be moved to the right of the words, as it was originally.

Then CEO Rob Fyfe had this to say about the rebranding: "Black has resonated well with our customers and staff who identify with it as the colour of New Zealand and a natural choice for our national airline. It inspires pride, is part of our Kiwi identity and a symbol of Kiwi success on the world stage." The airline began using black as their corporate colour ahead of the sponsorship campaign with NZ's rugby union team, the All Blacks, last year.[45]

But right after the first aircraft painted in the scheme (Airbus A320 ZK-OXA and ATR 72 ZK-MVC[46])[47] emerged from painting, and Airbus A320 ZK-OJQ entered service, another new livery was announced on 12 June 2013. In conjunction with a NZ$20 million Memorandum of Understanding with the national tourism agency Tourism New Zealand for joint marketing activity, TNZ also granted permission for Air New Zealand to use the "New Zealand Fern Mark", a standard fern logo used and managed by Tourism NZ and NZ Trade and Enterprise for international promotion, in their livery.[48]

Two new liveries were unveiled. The first is mainly white with a black strip running downwards on the rear fuselage from the tail, adorned with the iconic koru logo in white, to disappear downwards just before where the wings meet the body of the plane. The black and white fern mark adorns the fuselage. This livery will be used on most of the fleet. A select number will receive a distinctive all black livery with the fern in silver. Extensive consumer surveys by Air New Zealand revealed 78% believed the Fern Mark fits with the airline's brand and represents New Zealand. The repainting is expected to take about 18 months for the over 100 strong fleet.[49] The first of the aircraft to be painted in this livery, ZK-OXB, was rolled out on 24 September 2013.

Special liveries

Air New Zealand 747-400 (ZK-SUJ) "Airline to Middle Earth"
Airbus A320 ZK-OAB with the All Blacks livery, at Los Angeles International Airport on its delivery flight to Auckland
Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKP with "The Airline of Middle-earth" livery, at London Heathrow Airport
  • In 1973, the first McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30s arrived with 1974 British Commonwealth Games "NZ74" logo on both sides of the forward fuselage beneath the cabin windows.
  • In 1984, pictures of the Buckingham Palace horse guards with 'London, Here We Come' were placed on the side of the hump of the airline's new Boeing 747-200Bs when Air New Zealand was allowed to fly the Los Angeles – London leg of the trans Pacific route in its own name. Prior to this, British Airways had operated Air New Zealand's aircraft over the US in order to work around a "no pick up and continue" regulation. British Airways was exempt from this regulation.
  • A special livery on 747-400 ZK-NBW featuring an image of the All Blacks front row of Carl Hoeft, Anton Oliver and Kees Meeuws was used on the aircraft that took them to the 1999 Rugby World Cup. ZK-NBW also had a black tail. Two other aircraft were painted in the special All Blacks scheme 737-200QC ZK-NQC and Saab 340 ZK-NSK, both these aircraft retained their blue teal tail colours.
  • In 1999, one Boeing 737-300 ZK-NGA was painted in a 'New Millennium' livery depicting celebrations and the America's Cup regatta that was to be held in 2000.
  • In 2002 and 2003 Air New Zealand marked its position as "the official airline to Middle Earth" by decorating three planes with The Lord of the Rings imagery, applied as giant decals. The decal material was described in airline publicity as being as thin as clingfilm and weighing more than 60 kilograms (130 lb). The imagery featured actors from the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings against backdrops of New Zealand locations used in the films.[50][51]
  • August 2005 to March 2008 saw Freedom Air paint Airbus A320-200 ZK-OJL and ZK-OJO in a mural promoting Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast. This was part of "The Art in the Sky" Competition won by Che Ridland. All the major Looney Tunes characters were depicted.
  • In 2008, ZK-FRE was painted into a lime green Air New Zealand 'Holidays' livery. As of July 2009, the aircraft was removed from Air New Zealand service and sold to WebJet Linhas Aéreas.
  • During 2011 and 2012, six aircraft have been painted in an All Blacks inspired livery. The planes are completely black, with a silver fern motif covering the aft section of the fuselage.[52][53] The six aircraft include Airbus A320 ZK-OAB, Boeing 787 ZK-NZD and Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKQ in the main Air New Zealand fleet, plus ATR 72-600 ZK-MVA operated by Air New Zealand link subsidiary Mount Cook Airline.[54] Beechcraft 1900D ZK-EAG and ZK-EAK operated by subsidiary Eagle Airways, have also been repainted in the black and silver livery.[55]
  • In November 2012, Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKP was repainted in the new "black-tail" livery and fitted with a 830 m2 (8,900 sq ft) decal promoting the premiere and release of the first film in The Hobbit trilogy. The decal took six days and 400 man-hours to install.[56]
  • In December 2013, ahead of the premiere of the second part of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, Air New Zealand applied two 54-metre long images of the dragon Smaug on the sides of Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKO.


Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries serves 22 domestic destinations and 26 international destinations in fifteen countries and territories across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Air New Zealand serves only five of the domestic destinations; subsidiaries serve the remaining 17 destinations.

Air New Zealand operates five fifth freedom routes (i.e. between two non-New Zealand destinations), the most notable being the daily Los Angeles – London Heathrow service, operating as an extension of one of its Auckland – Los Angeles services. The airline operates weekly flights from Rarotonga to Sydney and Los Angeles, in addition to flights connecting via Auckland.[57] In 2012 – after securing a contract from the Australian government – Air New Zealand launched twice-weekly services from Sydney and Brisbane to Norfolk Island on its A320 aircraft, complementing its existing direct services from Auckland.

The airline also serves eight summer charter destinations in Japan from Auckland.[58]

On 12 December 2014, Air New Zealand announced a new route from Auckland to Buenos Aires (Argentina) to commence on 1 December 2015, operating three return services per week using the Boeing 777-200ER. It will be the airline's first South American route in its 75-year history. Aerolineas Argentinas, who formerly operated a route from Auckland to Buenos Aires, has agreed to code-share on the new route.[59]

In April 2015, Air New Zealand announced another new route from Auckland to Houston, Texas to commence on 15 December 2015, operating 3–5 return services per week using the Boeing 777-200ER. It will be the airlines' third route to the continental United States, alongside Los Angeles and San Francisco. Star Alliance partner United Airlines, who has a hub in Houston, will code-share on the new route.[60]

Codeshare agreements

Air New Zealand has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:


Air New Zealand's Airbus A320s operate short-haul routes, both domestically and internationally.
Air New Zealand was the launch customer for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, shown here landing at its launch destination Perth Airport in Australia; the first plane was delivered to the airline in July 2014.

Air New Zealand's main fleet consists of Boeing jet aircraft for long-haul flights, and predominantly Airbus aircraft for domestic and short-haul international flights. Air New Zealand's subsidiaries operate various makes of turboprop aircraft.

The majority of the airline's main fleet is made up of short-haul Airbus A320-200 aircraft. Fifteen 'domestic' (171-seat) configuration A320s are used on domestic routes between the major airports (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown), while thirteen 'international' (168-seat) configuration A320s are used on short-haul international routes to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The international long-haul fleet consists of Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787-9 jet aircraft. Five Boeing 767 aircraft operate flights from Auckland to the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Bali, and Australia. In 2008 all were retrofitted with winglets to increase fuel economy.[75] Eight 777-200ER aircraft operate a large majority of the long-haul routes, particularly Auckland to Hong Kong, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The 777-200ER also operates many Australian and Pacific Island flights. Seven 777-300ER aircraft service London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Australia. The first Boeing 787-9 entered service on 9 August 2014; the three aircraft operate routes from Auckland to Sydney, Perth, Shanghai and Tokyo. None of the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft operate out of Christchurch Airport (New Zealand's second most busiest airport) primarily due to ongoing flight segregation issue.

For regional domestic services, three makes of turboprop aircraft are used, each make belonging to a single subsidiary. Mount Cook Airline operates eleven ATR 72-500 and five ATR 72-600 aircraft between major cities and towns, such as Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Queenstown, Tauranga, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth and Invercargill. The 23 Air Nelson-operated Bombardier Q300 operate mainly on major routes alongside Mount Cook Airline, including to some smaller centres. Eagle Airways Beechcraft 1900D operate on minor routes between smaller urban areas and the main hub airports. These are being progressively phased out and replaced by the larger Bombardier Q300 as more ATR 72-600 aircraft are delivered and used on major regional routes.

The Boeing customer code for Air New Zealand is 19, which was inherited from the National Airways Corporation on its merger with Air New Zealand in 1978 (Air New Zealand itself didn't own any Boeing aircraft before 1978). All Boeing aircraft built for Air New Zealand are designated with the customer code, so a Boeing 777-200ER built for Air New Zealand is designated a 777-219ER.

Current fleet

As of 31 August 2015, Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries operate a total of 106 aircraft, which includes 18 aircraft by Mount Cook Airline, 23 by Air Nelson and 12 by Eagle Airways.[2]

Fleet plans

At the start of June 2014, Air New Zealand announced it would be placing a NZ$1.6 billion order with Airbus for thirteen Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft. The aircraft will be introduced from 2017 to replace the airline's older short-haul international Airbus A320s. There will be at least three A321neo aircraft, which will have a two-class configuration compared to the A320neo and existing A320s, which have all-economy configurations. The order also included an extra A320ceo aircraft for the domestic fleet.[77][80]

Air New Zealand placed a $340 million order in 2011 for seven ATR 72-600s and five options, the first arrived in November 2012.[81]

Air New Zealand, in 2004, ordered eight Boeing 787-9s as the launch customer for the 787-9 model, with options on eight more. These were originally intended to be delivered beginning in late 2010,[82] but significant development delays in the base 787-8 model pushed delivery on the 787-9 out to mid-2014. The first aircraft was handed over to Air New Zealand on 8 July 2014 at the Everett plant, and arrived in Auckland three days later.[83] In February 2013, Air New Zealand exercised two options to bring the order to 10, and later on 8 December 2014, exercised two more to bring the order to 12. The last 787-9 is expected to be delivered in late 2018.[79] The 787-9 will replace the Boeing 767-300ERs.

With the fleet renewal, Air New Zealand plans to simplify its jet fleet to three aircraft families: the Airbus A320 family operating short-haul domestic and international routes, and Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 on long-haul international routes.

Historic fleet

In the past, Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries have flown the following aircraft. It does not include aircraft solely operated by TEAL and NAC, or aircraft operated solely by Air New Zealand Link subsidiaries. [84] Totals do not include current operating aircraft.


Long-haul international

Boeing 777-200ER cabin with mood lighting
Business Premier flatbed seat

On 28 June 2004, Air New Zealand released details of the upgrade to their long-haul product, which was aimed to turn around the profitability of its international services. Every seat on their Boeing 747 aircraft was equipped with a personal LCD screen with audio video on demand (AVOD). First class was removed, with an upgraded business class and a new premium economy section installed.

In January 2010, Air New Zealand released details of their new "Kupe" long-haul product for their new 777-300ER aircraft which arrived later that year, as well as on their 787-9 aircraft. Changes included an improved Business Premier and Economy class product, a new Premium Economy cabin, and the introduction of the Economy SkyCouch.

Business Premier

Business Premier is the highest available class on Air New Zealand flights, available on both 777 variants and the 787 aircraft. The seating is configured in a herringbone layout in a 1-2-1 configuration on the 777s and 1-1-1 on the 787, allowing direct access for every passenger to an aisle. Each seat is 22 inches (560 mm) wide leather and comes with an ottoman footrest that doubles as a visitor seat. The seat converts to a full length (79.5 in or 2,020 mm) lie-flat bed, for which a pillow, duvet and sheet are provided. Business Premiere cabins can lie flat 6 feet 6 inches i.e. the longest in any airline. Long Haul Business Class: Pitch 79.5 inches Width 22 inches Seat Type Lie Flat, Short Haul Business Class: Pitch 50 inches, Seat Width 22 inches, Seat Type Angle Lie Flat.[85]

Each seat comes with a large tray table, multiple stowage bins, a cocktail tray, a bottle holder, in-seat power, three reading lights, and an AVOD system with a 10.4-inch monitor. There is a slightly uprated seat on the 777-300ER and 787-9, with lighter cream leather and purple trimmed seats. The in flight entertainment has also been improved, giving each seat USB and iPod connectivity, and a larger 12.1-inch (777-300ER) or 11.0-inch (787-9) touchscreen monitor.[86]


The 767 is equipped with standard recliner business class seats due to its inability to take the Business Premier seat. Seating is in a 2-2-2 configuration, with a 15-inch recline. Each seat is fitted with a standard legrest and footrest, USB, iPod and power connectivity, and a 10.6-inch touchscreen AVOD system.

Pacific Premium Economy

Pacific Premium Economy is in a dedicated cabin, which shares lavatories with the Business Premier cabin, available on the Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The class has the same mood lighting, dining and wine selection and in-seat power as the Business Premier cabin. On the unrefurbished 777-200ER, the seat width is the same as in Economy but with greater pitch. On the refurbished 777-200 and the 787-9, the seats are wider with a 9-inch recline and extendable leg rests. Premium economy seating is in a 3-3-3 configuration on the unrefurbished 777-200ER, a 2-4-2 configuration on the refurbished 777-200ER, and in a 2-3-2 configuration on the 787-9. Following positive reviews and high demand after its introduction, Air New Zealand re-launched its Pacific Premium cabin with added business class services, including priority check-in, priority baggage handling and the same baggage allowance as Business Premier (priority baggage handling and extra baggage allowance do not apply for passengers with connecting flights to other airlines). Seat pitch is approximately 41 in (1,000 mm).

Premium Economy Spaceseat

Premium Economy Spaceseats

Air New Zealand's Premium Economy Spaceseat is only available on the 777-300ER.

Designed by Air New Zealand in consultation with US design studio IDEO, the new Premium Economy cabin uses a 2-2-2 seating configuration. The central pair of Spaceseats are slightly angled for those travelling with a colleague or partner, and the two arm rests can form a single table for shared in-flight dining. The pairs of outboard Spaceseats on either side are angled to enhance privacy for solo flyers. The seats are built around a hard shell so the passenger in front cannot recline into the space of the person sitting behind. Instead, the seat slides forward and angles up as it reclines into the shell, similar to an armchair.

Pacific Economy

Pacific Economy on 777-300ER

Pacific Economy is available on all aircraft, in a 2-3-2 configuration on the 767, a 3-3-3 configuration on the unrefurbished 777-200ER and the 787, and a 3-4-3 configuration on the refurbished 777-200ER and the 777-300ER aircraft. The seats have a pitch of 31 to 34 inches (790 to 860 mm), have a 6-inch recline, and have a flexible edge seat base to provide more leg support when reclined. Each seat has its own AVOD entertainment system, with an 8.4-inch screen on the 777-200ER, a 9-inch screen on the 767 and 787, and a 10.6-inch touchscreen on the 777-300ER.

On the various aircraft, economy seats also have USB, iPod and power connections, a cup-holder and trinket tray, and a headrest designed to allow a special sleep pillow to attach to it, preventing it from slipping downwards during sleep.

Economy SkyCouch

The Economy SkyCouch is available on the 777-300ER, 787-9 and refurbished 777-200ER aircraft. It is a set of three Economy class seats on the window rows of the cabin that have armrests that retract into the seat back, and full leg rests that individually and manually can be raised to horizontal to form a flat surface extending to the back of the seats in front. It is largely designed for families for use as a flat play surface, and for couples, who on purchasing the middle seat for 25% more each, can use it as a flat sleeping surface.[87][88] Each SkyCouch seat is equipped with the same basic facilities as a standard Pacific Economy seat. The Skycouch is only available on routes longer than 6 hours duration; where the 777-300ER and 787 are used on shorter routes, the leg rests are locked out and the Skycouch seats act as regular economy seats.

The SkyCouch has earned the nickname "cuddle class" by media reporting on the new innovative seating, from the ability for couples to curl up and "cuddle" together on the 74 cm × 155 cm (29 in × 61 in) flat surface.[89][90][91] Concerns were raised almost immediately over if the couch could potentially be a new place to join the mile high club. Air New Zealand responded that public displays of affection of that level would not be tolerated in its aircraft.[92] The airline even went to release a billboard advertisement entitled "The Economy SkyCouch activity guide", suggesting "spoons" were allowed, but "forks" were not.[93]

In-flight entertainment and magazine

Forward 747-400 Business cabin with personal entertainment

Air New Zealand offers audio video on demand in all classes on international services on its 777-200ER, 777-300ER, 787-9, 767-300ER and A320-200 aircraft. The first AVOD system, introduced on all its 747s and 777s, was manufactured by Rockwell Collins. The later systems, enhanced with a touch-screen functionality, were manufactured by Panasonic Avionics Corporation.

The AVOD system, branded KiaOra, features multiple channels of video, audio, music, and games. Passengers can start and stop programs, plus rewind and fast-forward as desired. Recently, Air New Zealand has introduced a gate-to-gate in-flight entertainment experience. Passengers can start their entertainment as soon as they board the plane, and continue until they arrive at the gate of their destination, maximising play time, which is especially useful for its short-haul Tasman and Pacific Island flights. Gate-to-gate in-flight entertainment is not available on certain seats in economy (such as the bulkhead and emergency exit row seats), and on all Business Class seats on its 767s as they use fold-out PTV.

777-300ER bar-style galley with KiaOra screen and tasting area

AVOD screen size varies:[94]

  • Business Premier: 10.4 in (260 mm)
  • Pacific Premium Economy: 8.4 in (210 mm)
  • Pacific Economy: 8.4 in (210 mm)

KiaOra, the airline's in-flight magazine, was removed from international flights from March 2009. It is now only in seat backs on all the domestic services and trans-Tasman, however it can still be found in the inflight magazine racks on international flights.[95] As a guide on international services, there is now a brief publication named Entertainment Magazine detailing the entertainment available on the flight, which also contains the buy on board 'in-Bites' menu.[96]

Tasman and Pacific

In response to increasing competition from low cost carriers, namely Jetstar Airways, Air New Zealand replaced its cabin and service on short-haul international routes to Australia ("Tasman") and the Pacific Islands ("Pacific") with a new "Seats to Suit" service in 2010. Initially introduced on the Christchurch-Sydney route from 18 August 2010, the new service was rolled out on all routes on 17 November 2010. All international Airbus A320 aircraft were refitted with an all-economy cabin that supports four options of service. The Boeing 767, 777 and 787 aircraft also operate the route, Business Class (767) is also available; this is the same as the long-haul product.[97][98]

Business class meal

There are four options, building on each other:

  • Seat – the basic option, consisting of a seat, one cabin bag up to 7 kg, tea, coffee and water, and AVOD entertainment including TV shows, music and games.
  • Seat + Bag – the Seat option plus one checked bag up to 23 kg.
  • Works – the Seat + Bag option plus movies included on AVOD entertainment, an in-flight meal, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, and the ability to request a specific seat. Children receive a kids activity pack. This option is identical to the previous Economy option.
  • Works Deluxe – the Works option plus priority check-in and baggage, and extra checked bag up to 23 kg, lounge access (where available). On the A320 and 767, passengers are guaranteed an empty middle seat next to them; on the 777 and 787, Works Deluxe passengers are seated in the Premium Economy cabin. On flights to Perth, the long-haul Premium Economy product replaces Works Deluxe.

Air New Zealand is reintroducing Space+ seats on the Trans-tasman routes, with 35 inches of pitch in the first three rows of the A320s. These are only available to Works or Works Deluxe passengers, and only Airpoints Gold Elite and Gold members of Air New Zealand's Airports programme are allocated these seats.[99]

The AVOD system consists of an 8.4-inch screen. In addition, the AVOD screens allow ordering of drinks and snacks to be delivered to their seat by the cabin crew. Works and Works Deluxe passengers get complimentary drinks after their meal, while drinks for Seat and Seat+Bag passengers, and snacks for all passengers are available for purchase using a credit card or a voucher purchased at the airport prior to boarding.

Beech 1900D single-class cabin

Airpoints Gold and Gold Elite are entitled to an additional carry-on bag up to 7 kg on all options. Airpoints Gold, Gold Elite and Koru members are entitled to an additional checked bag up to 23 kg on all options except Seat.[97]


Air New Zealand domestic services are operated in a single class all-economy configuration. Seating forward of the over-wing emergency exits on 737 and A320 aircraft are Space+ seats, with a larger pitch between seats, but otherwise are effectively economy seats.

From July 2014, Air New Zealand has four domestic fare options, each building on the previous option:

  • Seat – the basic option, consisting of a seat, one cabin bag up to 7 kg, and tea/coffee/water and snacks (depending on aircraft)
  • Seat + Bag – the Seat option, plus one checked bag up to 23 kg
  • FlexiTime – the Seat + Bag option, plus the option to request a specific seat prior to check-in (note Airpoints Gold/Elite and Koru members can request a seat regardless of fare option), and the ability to change to an earlier or later flight on the same day and route for no extra cost (subject to availability).
  • FlexiPlus – the FlexiTime option, plus an extra checked bag up to 23 kg, and the ability to change a flight to a different date without a change fee (if the new flight is more expensive, the difference must be paid).

Only FlexiPlus is refundable; all other options are non-refundable. FlexiPlus passengers, along with Airpoints and Koru members, get priority over the Space+ seating.

With the exception of Eagle Airways Beech 1900D flights, which do not have a flight attendant, all domestic passengers are offered tea, coffee or water. Passengers on turboprop aircraft are also offered a biscuit, while those on 737 and A320 flights are offered a choice of snacks, including vege crisps, muesli bars, and biscuits. Hard lollies are handed out to passengers on the descent. On flights before 9 am on 737 and A320 aircraft, muesli and muffins are offered, as well as morning newspapers, and on flights between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm, beer and wine are offered to passengers (provided they are 18 years or over), as well as Lemon & Paeroa, cheese, crackers and grapes, and bagel crisps and hummus.


Koru Lounge

Air New Zealand Koru Lounge in Wellington
Air New Zealand self check-in kiosks, Wellington

The Koru Lounge is the name for Air New Zealand's network of airline lounges around the world. Members of Air New Zealand Koru programme may access the lounges, and also get valet parking, priority wait listing, exclusive check-in, extra checked in baggage, and preferred seating.

Check-in kiosks

Check-in kiosks were launched in October 2008 around various domestic terminals throughout New Zealand. Users use a bar code issued on-line or via mobile or PDA to scan for checking in. Most business day travellers can go straight through to their departure gate if not checking in bags. Wellington and Christchurch were equipped in late November 2008 while the larger provincial cities were retrofitted with a smaller system. Smaller destinations received an ATM sized machine (for the Beech 1900D network). The kiosks are manufactured by IER, a subsidiary of Bolloré.

The proportion of Air New Zealand’s passengers using self-service check-in is increasing. Following the launch of its domestic product, the airline reached its 80% self-service target three days after going live.[100] That has continued to grow to the stage that the number of full-service customers travelling within its domestic network has reduced to a trickle. The self-service kiosks are now also available for travel out of the Christchurch International Airport terminal, Auckland International terminal and Wellington Airport on trans-Tasman and most Pacific Island services allowing passengers to self check-in with baggage. Check-in kiosks have also been installed in offshore airports such as Sydney and Melbourne for Air New Zealand services.


Airpoints is Air New Zealand's frequent-flyer programme. Members earn Airpoints Dollars, which they can redeem at face value on any fare on Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flights. Members are assigned a tier status, with increasing privileges ranging from Jade, Silver to Gold, then Gold Elite, by accumulating their Status Points which are earned separately from Airpoints Dollars. Becoming an Airpoints Gold and Airpoints Gold Elite would have the same recognition as a Star Alliance Gold status and benefits across the Star Alliance network. The same goes for the Airpoints Silver and Star Alliance Silver, but with fewer benefits. There is a joining fee of NZ$50, which is waived if the person can prove they have already flown Business Class by Air New Zealand. The joining fee is also waived if you join the frequent flyer program during an Air NZ flight.

Airpoints members now will receive Status Points for almost every Air New Zealand flight, as well as many other flights with its Star Alliance partners. Status Points enable members to reach a higher status faster. Status Points will still be granted even on discount fares (such as Smart Saver and grabaseat fares) that normally do not earn Airpoints Dollars.[101]

Advertising and promotion

Nothing to Hide campaign

On 10 May 2009, Air New Zealand launched a TV advertising campaign, Nothing to hide.

The campaign featured more than ninety Air New Zealand staff, eight of whom were chosen for starring roles and who swapped their real uniforms for a body painted version. Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe made a cameo appearance in full body-paint.[102][103] The campaign was designed to differentiate Air New Zealand from low-cost competitors who levy additional charges if a passenger wants to check a bag or have a drink. Air New Zealand have airfares that include baggage allowances and refreshments.

The TV commercial was accompanied by a new in-flight safety video using the same theme. The safety video, titled Bare Essentials, was shown on all Boeing 737-300-operated flights.[104] It featured a pilot and four cabin staff, including William Coxhead, a regular in Air New Zealand safety videos.[105] Another version was released later, this time for the Airbus A320.[106]

The TV ad and in-flight safety video both use the track "Under My Skin" by New Zealand singer Gin Wigmore.

The campaign website Nothing To Hide, contained both videos complete with bloopers and behind the scenes most of which are still on YouTube. On YouTube the in-flight safety video gathered over 7 million views by the start of 2013. The campaign has been reported by international networks such as CNN and the BBC.[107]

In late 2009 Air New Zealand started to put up billboard ads where a body painted staff member was walking into a carwash or ready to go down a water slide or even ready to jump off a diving board.

All Blacks Safety Video

Air New Zealand produced a humorous safety video in 2010, promoting the New Zealand All Blacks.[108][109] One scene involved safety video regular William Coxhead requesting a peck on the cheek from All Black Richard Kahui after seeing a female flight attendant do the same, only for Kahui to chicken out. The scene was cut in December 2010 after Air New Zealand drew criticism from some LGBT groups.[110]


From 2010 to 2011 Air New Zealand had a very successful[111] online campaign using a puppet called Rico. Rico had an active presence on Air New Zealand's YouTube page,[112] his own Twitter[113] and Facebook[114] feeds, and attracted both a devoted fan base and controversy.[115]

On the surface, he was an ambassador for the company and a world traveller often providing trips and worldly advice but deliberate problems with his accent (possibly meant to be Peruvian) made him too risque for normal media. His online videos often included famous guests[116] including Snoop Dogg, David Hasselhoff, and Lindsay Lohan.

Air New Zealand seemingly killed him[117] off late in 2011 (actually tying his fictional homicide to another marketing campaign based on Cluedo).

Mile High Madness

In 2011, Air New Zealand created an air safety video based on a fitness show format starring Richard Simmons.[118] The video features William Coxhead, a regular in Air New Zealand safety videos.[119]

The Hobbit

In November 2012, Air New Zealand released a mock in-flight safety video featuring hobbits, dwarves and orcs, as part of a cross-promotion with the first part of director Sir Peter Jackson's upcoming film adaptation of The Hobbit. Sir Peter himself makes a cameo in the clip.[120] The video features William Coxhead, a regular in Air New Zealand safety videos.[121]

The company followed it up in November 2013, with Just another day in Middle-earth #airnzhobbit, featuring Dean O'Gorman, who plays Fili in the Hobbit trilogy, and the voice of co-star Sylvester McCoy.[122] Another safety video, titled The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made, was published in October 2014. It features well known actors and collaborators from the film franchise, including Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood.[123]

The Bear Essentials

In February 2013, Air New Zealand released an in-flight safety video to promote its partnership with the New Zealand Department of Conservation.[124] The video features Man v Wild star Bear Grylls, performing antics he is known for from his television show, including jumping into a river with a life jacket and eating glow worms. The video uses natural features in place of features on the plane, such as a hole in a hill as overhead lockers, and a cave with glow worms to be the emergency lighting.[125] The video features William Coxhead, a regular in Air New Zealand safety videos.

Safety Old School Style

American TV veterans Betty White and Gavin MacLeod, co-stars on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, reunited in the airline's in-flight safety video. Released in October 2013, it takes place at a retirement resort.[126]

Men in Black

In August 2015, Air New Zealand released a Men in Black themed in-flight safety video. The video featured a parody of the song "Men in Black" performed by Israel Dagg and Stan Walker with appearances by All Blacks members Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu and Sam Whitelock, coach Steve Hansen, former international rugby players Martin Johnson, David Campese and Agustín Pichot, Rip Torn reprising his role as Agent Zed from the first two Men in Black films, and Frank the Pug.[127][128]

Incidents and accidents

As of June 2010, Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries have been involved in more than ten incidents and accidents, including 5 hull loss accidents.

  • On 4 July 1966, an Air New Zealand Douglas DC-8 on a training flight crashed on the runway shortly after taking off, killing two of the five crew (no passengers were on board).[129][130]
  • On 22 December 1978 a small plane became lost over the Pacific and Air New Zealand Flight 103 had to search for it and successfully found it using a technical navigation method, with the help of an oil rig under tow. The captain then released a thin stream of fuel out of the DC10's fuel dump tube creating a ten-mile long vapour trail for the small plane to follow in the direction of Norfolk Island.
  • On 17 February 1979, an Air New Zealand Fokker Friendship crashed into Manukau Harbour while on final approach. One of the crew and one company staff member were killed.[131]
  • On 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight 901, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30-operated sightseeing flight over Antarctica, collided with Mount Erebus on Ross Island, killing all 257 people on board. An unannounced change in flight path coordinates by the airline's navigational division the morning of the accident, combined with unique Antarctic weather and conditions, resulted in the aircraft crashing into Mount Erebus when the flight crew thought they were flying down McMurdo Sound. The crash and subsequent inquiry resulted in major changes in Air New Zealand's management.
  • On 19 May 1987, during the first of Fiji's coups d'état that year, Air New Zealand Flight 24, flying from Tokyo Narita to Auckland via Nadi, was hijacked at Nadi International Airport. An aircraft refueller entered the Boeing 747-200's cockpit and held the captain, first officer and flight engineer hostage for six hours, before the flight engineer managed to distract the hijacker and hit him over the head with a bottle of duty-free whisky. All 105 passengers and 24 crew (including the three hostages) aboard were uninjured. Air New Zealand subsequently suspended all of its services to/through Nadi for seven months.[16][132]
  • On 30 August 2002, Air New Zealand Flight 2, a Boeing 747-400-operated flight from Auckland to London Heathrow via Los Angeles, lost a two-metre section of its right inboard trailing-edge flap just after take-off. Dismissing the bumps as wake turbulence, the crew only realised the flap was missing 12 hours later on the approach to Los Angeles. The aircraft landed safely with no injuries. The separation was caused by a fatigue fracture of one of the links attaching the flap to the wing.[133]
  • On 8 February 2008, a woman attempted to hijack Air New Zealand Flight 2279 from Blenheim to Christchurch. This was actually an Air National J32 on charter to replace the normal Eagle aircraft. The woman threatened Air New Zealand staff, stating she had a bomb on board. Both pilots and one passenger suffered stab injuries. The aircraft landed safely and the woman was arrested. There were no injuries to the other passengers on board.[134][135]
  • On 27 November 2008, XL Airways Germany Flight 888T crashed into the Mediterranean Sea near Canet-en-Roussillon on the French coast. The plane was an Air New Zealand-owned Airbus A320 leased to XL Airways Germany registered D-AXLA (formerly ZK-OJL), and was undertaking a technical flight immediately prior to a scheduled handover back to Air New Zealand. At the time of the accident the plane was painted in Air New Zealand livery. Seven people — two Germans (pilot Norbert Kaeppel and co-pilot Theodore Ketzer from XL Airways) and five New Zealanders (one pilot, three aircraft engineers and one member of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand) - were killed.


Outsourcing maintenance

On 19 October 2005, Air New Zealand proposed outsourcing most of its heavy maintenance on its long-haul aircraft and engines, which would result in about 600 job losses, mostly in Auckland. Air New Zealand said that there are larger maintenance providers who can provide maintenance work cheaply due to their large scale. The proposal was estimated to save $100 million over five years and came after many attempts to attract contracts to service other airlines' longhaul aircraft.

Eventually, a union proposal to save some of the remaining jobs was accepted. The proposal included shift and pay changes (most of them pay-cuts) which would allow about 300 engineers in Auckland to keep their jobs. 200 were made redundant or resigned.[136]

Minor seating policy

In November 2005, it was revealed that Air New Zealand (along with Qantas & British Airways) has a policy of not seating adult male passengers next to unaccompanied children. The policy came to light following an incident in 2004 when Mark Wolsay, who was seated next to a young boy on a Qantas flight in New Zealand, was asked to change seats with a female passenger. A steward informed him that "it was the airline's policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children". Air New Zealand later said it had a similar policy to Qantas, attracting widespread criticism.[137][138]

Qantas code-share

On 12 April 2006, Air New Zealand and Qantas announced that they had signed a code-share agreement for their trans-Tasman routes and would file for authorisation from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport[139] and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.[140] The airlines maintained that they were making losses on Tasman routes due to too many empty seats, and that a codeshare would return the routes to profitability. Critics, particularly Wellington International Airport, Christchurch Airport and Melbourne Airport, argued that the codeshare would lead to reduced passenger choice and higher airfares, and that cities such as Auckland and Sydney would benefit immensely through economic activity services would bring.

On 15 November 2006 Air New Zealand announced it was withdrawing its application after a draft decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to not approve the code-sharing agreement.

Alternative propulsion

In the effort to develop an aviation biofuel, Air New Zealand and Boeing researched the jatropha plant to see if it was a viable green alternative to conventional fuel.[141] A two-hour test flight using a 50-50 mixture of the new biofuel with Jet A-1 in the number one position Rolls Royce RB-211 engine of 747-400 ZK-NBS, was completed on 30 December 2008. The engine was then removed to be scrutinised and studied to identify any differences between the Jatropha blend and regular Jet A1. No effects to performances were found. The use of jatropha has been identified as a possible future fuel but large tracts of low quality land needed to grow the plant would have to be found without impeding other agricultural uses. Air New Zealand took the opportunity to retire ZK-NBS due to the economic global slowdown in 2009. It was then flown to the USA and broken up for reusable parts.[142]

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External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
  • Air New Zealand at YouTube
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