Saturday, 9 May 2009

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand,  the national and flag carrying airline of New Zealand is an airline of many contradictions.  A vibrant airline with highs and lows, of success and unique features.

The Long Haul international flights are all by 747 or 777 and offer good comfort, comfortable seats and friendly service from the cabin crew.  The in seat entertainment system is interesting, informative. Domestic services are pretty straightforward with limited service,  trans-Tasman services have a confusing range of fares and service level options.  Recently the airline turned a few heads and raised a few eye-brows with the strange introduction of a sky bed / couch for economy – details below.

We like the international service, the friendly crew and New Zealand food and wine.   

Our Rating.  4 stars.

  • United Kingdom

  • Sales, Reservations   Freephone: 0800 028 4149
  • USA Passenger Reservations  Toll Free (from within USA): 1-800-262-1234
  • Freephone (calling within New Zealand): 0800 737 000

  Long-haul economy

The Economy cabins are designed to make long-haul international travel a more enjoyable experience.

Our friendly, professional crew will make sure you're comfortable throughout your journey. You'll appreciate the generous personal space and ergonomically designed seats.
The style of food and beverage is modern and innovative, with an emphasis on New Zealand flavours. For those with special dietary needs, a full range of 22 special meal options is also available, so long as we are advised of your specific request at least 24 hours before departure. We also offer a wide selection of complimentary beverages including quality New Zealand and Australian wines to accompany your meal.

In Economy you have a wide range of on-demand entertainment options at your seat. Your very own 8.4" screen and in-seat remote ensure you control the action, choosing what you watch and when.

Premium Economy

Enjoy more space and premium food service when you travel in Premium Economy.
Choose Premium Economy and enjoy the convenience of premium check-in before you stretch out in an exclusive cabin, enjoying additional recline, legroom, and service benefits. On our 777 aircraft Premium Economy cabin is located between Business Premier and Economy. On our 747 aircraft Premium Economy cabins are located on both the upper and main decks.

We offer a range of premium services in a uniquely Kiwi style to enhance your travel experience. The Premium Economy cabin offers one of the largest seat pitches in its class and Business Premier menus accompanied by a range of award-winning New Zealand wines. With these premium features you can stretch out, relax, and enjoy a taste of unparalleled luxury on-board. Premium Economy passengers are also able to enjoy the on-board self-service refreshment bar for drinks and snacks.

Business Premier

To look and feel your best, there is no substitute for a good night's sleep. So we chose the most comfortable, fully lie flat bed in its class for our Business Premier cabin.

Business Premier is available on our 747 and 777 aircraft. Please note the seats in our Business Class on 767 aircraft are different - very comfortable but not the lie flat bed we describe below.
Business Premier - the most comfortable fully flat bed in its class.


Relax in comfort while you enjoy the special features of the Business Premier seat:
  • A luxurious 22" wide leather armchair with separate ottoman footrest that doubles as a visitor's seat
  • A seat that converts to a 6'7.5" bed - the most comfortable fully flat bed in its class
  • Your own large cotton pillow, duvet and sleep sheet, the finishing touch for a perfect in-flight sleep
  • Generous recline and adjustable lumbar support
  • Unique design that allows take-off and landing in a reclined seat position
  • Direct aisle access for everyone
  • A large adjustable table that lets you work and dine
  • In-seat power in every seat, which accepts most common connector plugs without the need for an adaptor. Please refer to our electronic equipment section for more information.
  • Multiple stowage options, including a large literature pocket and stowage wells underneath the ottoman and within the armrest
  • Three individual reading lights - to provide discreet light just where you need it
  • A retractable cocktail tray and convenient water bottle holder
The Economy Skycouch is now available on our new 777-300 planes, now flying daily between Auckland, Los Angeles and London.
Economy Skycouch.
The Skycouch is a trio of three Economy seats that together create a flexible space for whatever you want it to be - an area to relax and stretch out in, or for the kids to use as a play area. It’s like having your very own couch on the plane.

Skycouch Dimensions: Length of the Economy Skycouch: Side wall armrest up is 1.55m (5ft 1”). Depth of the cushion and leg rest combined is approx. 74cm (29”) (measured from the centre of the seat cushion at the back to the front edge of the leg rest).
The seats themselves are our Economy seats with armrests that disappear into the back of the seat. There’s also a trinket tray, a winged headrest and a sleep pillow on every seat. What makes the Skycouch different to other Economy seats is the way the trio of seats transform. With a touch of a button, a footrest will come out from under each of the three seats which you can pull up to create a flat, flexible space for you to use however you like. By booking this three-wide seat space, you really can get the most from your long-haul flying experience.
Air New Zealand is now offering its Pacific Economy passengers subject to availability, the chance to buy at check-in, a guaranteed extra seat. We call this Twin Seat and it is great if you want to enjoy a little extra room in-flight.

Twin Seat. See the tables below for Twin Seat price details, which are per person/per sector.
Ask Air New Zealand's check-in counter staff for more information on the availability of a Twin Seat on your flight, but this seems a great idea for both passengers and the airline.  Unsold seats are still earn revenue, passengers can guarantee more room.

Air New Zealand's story began in April 1940 when its forerunner airline, Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) was incorporated. TEAL began its first trans-Tasman services with flying boats, and over the years steadily expanded the size and scope of its operations and the extent of its international network. The route network was expanded from Australia and the Pacific to Asia, the USA, the UK and Europe. In October 1953 TEAL became jointly owned by the New Zealand and Australian Governments, and in April 1961 the New Zealand Government assumed full ownership.
In addition to TEAL operating international services, the New Zealand Government established NZ National Airways Corporation (NAC) in 1947. NAC was the primary operator of domestic air services between major centres and provincial cities and towns, and along with TEAL would later form the basis for today's Air New Zealand.

Pacific Coral Route

In December 1951 a flying boat service from Auckland via Fiji and the Cook Islands to Tahiti began - it was known as the "Coral Route". Samoa became part of this route in 1952. The inaugural flight was made in a MK III Solent Flying Boat called Aparima. Solents were used to fly the Coral Route until September 1960, when the world's last scheduled international flying boat service was discontinued. The 50th anniversary of the Coral Route was celebrated by Air New Zealand on the 15th of December 2001.
TEAL Solent Flying Boat at Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands. TEAL Solent Flying Boat at Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands

A National Carrier Is Born

First 737-200 touches down at Wellington. First 737-200 touches down at Wellington
In April 1965 TEAL was renamed Air New Zealand Limited, and continued operating solely international services. 1965 also heralded the beginning of the jet era for Air New Zealand, with the arrival in July of the first DC-8 jet aircraft. The new jets meant that Air New Zealand could expand operations to North America and Asia, becoming a truly international airline. In 1973, Air New Zealand also introduced the larger DC-10. The airline operated with a combined DC-8 and DC-10 fleet until the 1980s, when the larger Boeing 747 began to replace the older jets. The first 747 arrived in May 1981.
In the meantime, NAC's early piston-engined aircraft such as the DC3, were replaced by turbo-props, and in 1968 the jet age for domestic aviation was ushered in by the Boeing 737.
Thirteen years after TEAL was renamed Air New Zealand, Air New Zealand and NAC merged in April 1978, forming the first New Zealand carrier to offer both international and domestic services.
NAC hostesses model the latest uniform in 1976. NAC hostesses model the latest uniform in 1976
Tragedy struck Air New Zealand on November 28th 1979 when a DC 10 on a sightseeing flight to Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus, resulting in the loss of all 257 passengers and crew onboard. The tragedy deeply affected New Zealand and everyone that worked at the airline.
In April 1989, the New Zealand Government privatisation of Air New Zealand was completed through the outright sale of the company for NZ$660 million, to a consortium comprising of Brierley Investments, Qantas, Japan Airlines and American Airlines. Air New Zealand shares were listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange as "A" shares (could only be held by New Zealand nationals) in October 1989 and "B" shares (no restriction on nationality of ownership) in December 1991.
During the 1980s and 1990s Air New Zealand continued to expand its international network, particularly to Asian cities like Taipei, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka.

Global Alliance

In March 1999 Air New Zealand became a full member of the Star Alliance group. The Star Alliance, which includes Air Canada, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SAS, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, United Airlines, US Airways and Varig is the world's largest global alliance and provides valuable network and loyalty benefits to customers.
Star Alliance - the airline network for Earth Logo. Beyond the Star Alliance, Air New Zealand has strong commercial partnerships with airlines serving key markets which complement and strengthen Air New Zealand's airline network. These relationships are managed at a bilateral level.

Air New Zealand and Ansett Australia

In September 1996, Air New Zealand announced a conditional agreement to purchase 50% of Ansett Holdings for a total outlay of A$475 million. The purchase was completed in October 1996. Ansett Holdings owned 100% of Ansett Australia (the domestic airline) and 49% of Ansett International.
In February 2000, Air New Zealand announced the conditional purchase of the remaining 50% of Ansett Holdings Limited from News Corporation Limited for A$580m, with a further deferred consideration equivalent to 10.5% of issued capital to be settled between two and four years. The purchase was completed in June 2000 creating a new world top twenty airline.
Ansett had an extensive network throughout Australia and provided Air New Zealand customers with a greatly enhanced offering.
Following a significant downturn in Ansett's performance, leading to unsustainable levels of losses, Ansett was placed into Voluntary Administration in September 2001. On the 4th of October 2001 the Air New Zealand Board, its major shareholders and the New Zealand Government announced a new proposal which provided a substantial capital injection from the New Zealand Government into Air New Zealand. Following shareholder approval of the new proposal in December 2001, Air New Zealand was recapitalised in January 2002.

Short Haul Remodelling

In July 2002, Air New Zealand began a fleet renewal programme and confirmed an order for 14 new Airbus A320s. The Airbus aircraft replace Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 737-300 aircraft that are being progressively retired from the fleet.

In October 2004, the airline announced an upgrade to the turbo-prop fleet, with an agreement to acquire 17 new Bombardier 50 seat Q300 turbo-prop aircraft, and options to purchase a further 10 Q300 and 13 Q400 aircraft. The new aircraft will replace the fleet of 17 33-seater Saab 340A aircraft.
Air New Zealand Plane.

Being There Is Everything

Air New Zealand is transforming its business to firmly put the customer at the front of all its processes.The domestic business was the first to undergo dramatic transformation.
From November 2002, the way people travelled within New Zealand changed dramatically. The airline remodelled its business to offer substantially lower fares, simplified booking rules, a focus on internet sales and ease of booking, additional seat availability and improved loyalty benefits for frequent flyers.
Short haul international services (Tasman and South Pacific) were next. In October 2003, the concept was extended to Tasman travel. With the move, Air New Zealand became the first airline to introduce everyday, low-cost travel across the Tasman and continued its efforts to encourage more people to travel more often. Pacific routes followed in May 2004.

New Long-Haul Fleet and Product

In June 2004, the addition of 12 Boeing aircraft to the fleet and plans to transform the long-haul flying experience were announced.
The Boeing deal, worth more than $1 billion, will see Air New Zealand acquiring eight new Boeing 777-200ER and four Boeing 7E7 aircraft, as well as rights to acquire a further 46 long-haul aircraft.The aircraft began arriving in October 2005 and will allow Air New Zealand to develop new routes, increase frequency on existing routes and increase both passenger and cargo capacity, while improving efficiency and emission ratings.
Air New Zealand Planes.
The interior of these new aircraft mirror the upgraded Boeing 747 fleet, which are being refitted to offer customers a truly Kiwi experience that sets the benchmark for long-haul travel.
The new Air New Zealand in-flight product features the revolutionary lie-flat seats for premium class passengers, each with direct aisle access; video screens in every seat and movies on demand; new slimline Recaro economy seats; new soft furnishings, refurbished bathroomsand a new food and beverage experience. In addition, a new premium economy service offers additional leg room, more seat recline and in-seat power. The premium economy offering will be unique among carriers to and from New Zealand.

New Routes and Exciting Initiatives

In addition to the new long-haul aircraft and in-flight product, Air New Zealand has also launched new international routes.
On June 30 2004 direct services between Auckland and San Francisco were launched, with services from Wellington to Fiji and Christchurch to the Cook Islands beginning in late 2004. Services between Auckland and Niue and Auckland and Adelaide launched in November 2005 and March 2006 respectively.
Alongside on-going efforts to market New Zealand as a destination to existing markets, Air New Zealand has renewed its focus on growing potential markets and earlier this year opened a sales office in Beijing, China. Direct flights between Auckland and Shanghai are also planned once the necessary regulatory approvals are received.
Air New Zealand's loyalty programme, Airpoints, was relaunched in November 2004 as Airpoints Dollars. In a world first, customers can use their Airpoints Dollars to book any seat, at any time, on any Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flight, just like cash.
A new uniform, designed by leading New Zealand fashion house Zambesi, was launched in October 2005 at Air New Zealand Fashion Week, with staff changing over to the new look in March 2006.

With all these initiatives and the many more to follow Air New Zealand remains committed to delivering a uniquely Kiwi experience to its customers.

Incidents, accidents and crashes.

As of June 2010, Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries have been involved in over 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).

On December 22, 1978 a small plane became lost over the Pacific and Air New Zealand Flight 103 had to search for it.

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.

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, a Boeing 747-200-operated flight from Tokyo Narita to Auckland via Nadi, was hijacked at Nadi International Airport. Staff members of the local ground handling crew stormed the plane, and held three flight crew hostage for six hours before the incident was resolved. Air New Zealand subsequently suspended all of its services to/through Nadi for seven months.

On 29 March 1995, NZ2337 from Hamilton to New Plymouth operated by a Kiwi West Aviation Beech Queen Air B80 Excalibur for Air New Zealand crashed 13 minutes after take-off killing all six on board. The plane stalled and spun after both engines failed due to fuel starvation.

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 missing flap 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.

December 2002, An Air New Zealand Boeing 767 took off from Brisbane bound for Auckland when one engine experienced an uncontained failure, forcing an emergency landing at Brisbane airport.

On 18 June 2007, Air New Zealand/Eagle Airways Flight 2300, a Beechcraft 1900D-operated flight from Timaru to Wellington, was diverted to Woodbourne Aerodrome near Blenheim after the landing gear failed to deploy on the approach to Wellington. The aircraft landed on its belly, causing extensive but repairable damage to the aircraft. None of the 17 people on board were injured. The cause was the hydraulic system being drained via a fatigue crack in the hydraulic actuator for the right main landing gear, resulting in the gear being stuck in the retracted position.

On 8 February 2008, a woman attempted to hijack Air New Zealand Flight 2279 from Blenheim to Christchurch. Though 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.

On 27 November 2008, (28 November New Zealand time) a leased Air New Zealand-owned Airbus A320-200 (ZK-OJL) registered D-AXLA, on a post-maintenance flight (flight GL888T) crashed into the Mediterranean Sea seven kilometers east of the French city of Perpignan, near the border with Spain. The seven people on board were killed, including four Air New Zealand representatives. The aircraft was on lease to XL Airways Germany, a European-based airline. ZK-OJL was unique in that when sequestered to Freedom Air, was painted in a remarkable Warner Brothers cartoon character colour scheme.

On 30 September 2010, an Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300 Dash 8 aircraft operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Air Nelson suffered a nose wheel failure upon landing at Blenheim Airport in the South Island of New Zealand. Flight NZ8441 with 46 passengers and 3 crew members scheduled to fly from Wellington to Nelson, diverted to Blenheim airport after circling at Nelson in bad weather. Upon landing, the nose wheel collapsed and the aircraft came to a halt on the runway resting on the forward section the aircraft's hull. No passengers or crew were injured during the landing and the airplane was largely undamaged.

On 9 February 2011, an Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300 Dash 8 aircraft operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Air Nelson again suffered a nose wheel failure upon landing at Blenheim Airport in the South Island of New Zealand. Flight NZ8309 with 41 passengers and 3 crew members scheduled to fly from Hamilton to Wellington, diverted to Blenheim after crew reported a problem with the undercarriage.   After circling the airport four times the aircraft landed with the nose gear undeployed coming to a stop approximately two thirds along the length of the runway. No injuries were sustained.

Operating Fleet as at 31 March 2011


In Operation

On Order
Average Age (years) Average Utilisation (hrs/day)
Jet Aircraft
B747-400 6 - 16.0 10:30
B777-300ER 3 2 0.2 17:18
B777-200ER 8 - 4.9 15:12
B787 - 8 - -
B767-300ER 5 - 15.5 12:12
Airbus A320 - Shorthaul 12 - 6.7 10:28
Airbus A320 - Domestic 2 12 0.2 8:53
B737-300 15 - 13.2 7:28
ATR72-500 11 - 10.3 7:06
Q300 23 - 4.2 6:53
Beech1900D 18 9.3 6:09
Totals 103 22 8.4 8:44

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