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Air New Zealand can trace its history to the formation of Tasman Empire Airways Limited
in 1940. TEAL was established to enable air links by flying boat between New Zealand
and Australia and the neighbouring Pacific Islands. TEAL was a joint venture between
the New Zealand government, Union Airways, BOAC and QANTAS. Services commenced on
April 30 1940 with Empire flying boat ZK-
By 1944 services had doubled to three times weekly despite a third Empire flying boat having been diverted for the war effort. The Empire flying boats were soon replaced by converted military Shorts Sunderlands which became known as the Tasman Class. These enabled the airline to gear up to a daily service for the 1946 season.
On April 1 1947 the New Zealand government formed New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC) to be the prime Domestic airline. However it soon expanded to provide flying boat services to Fiji, Tonga, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands. These routes were taken over by TEAL in 1949.
In 1954 the British government withdrew support from British Commonwealth Pacific
Airlines (BCPA) leading to three DH-
This changed in 1961 when the New Zealand government paid $1.62 million to take TEAL
into sole New Zealand ownership. Four years later the decision was made to re-
TEAL entered the jet age on July 20 1967 when ZK-
On November 24 1967 the new Auckland International Airport opened.
In 1967 Air New Zealand took a 20% holding in Polynesian Airlines.
On December 14 1967 DC8 services commenced on the Auckland -
In 1968 Air New Zealand helped form Cook Islands Airways. During the same year the
first three Boeing 737-
The first widebody jets were introduced in 1973 with the first of eight DC-
In 1974 an aircraft sharing service with British Airways was commenced with Air New
The first DC-
Antarctic sightseeing flights with the DC-
In 1978 Air New Zealand and NAC merged under the Air New Zealand name with a fleet comprising the following aircraft:
1979 was a difficult and tragic year for the airline with Fokker F27-
On June 7 all DC-
On 12 June 1980 Air New Zealand placed an order for five Rolls Royce powered Boeing
On August 25 1982 Air New Zealand commenced service to London in its own right with
a twice weekly 747-
With the 747-
On April 1 1984 the London service started flying direct between Auckland and Los Angeles.
The first Boeing 767, 200 series ZK-
1986 saw further Boeing 767-
A new London service commenced in 1987 routing Auckland -
The Tasman alliance with QANTAS ended in 1997 and QANTAS divested its interest in Air New Zealand in 1997 with US investors taking the 19.9% stake. Air New Zealand moved closer to United Airlines this year with an agreement to codeshare on up to 130 flights per week.
Smoking was banned on all Air New Zealand flights this year and wine and beer service was introduced on domestic Boeing 737 services.
Codeshare agreement commenced with Singapore Airlines this year with Christchurch
In March 1999 Air New Zealand and Ansett Australia joined Star Alliance, becoming
the seventh and eighth members. During this same year the airline began upgrading
its Domestic equipment with Boeing 737-
The five Boeing 747-
In February 2000 Air New Zealand took the extraordinary decision to purchase the remaining 50% of Ansett Australia from New Corporation for A$580 million. This was followed in April 2000 by Singapore Airlines taking an 8.3% stake in Air New Zealand.
The Beech 1900D was ordered in 2001 for Domestic Operations by Eagle Airways. The
QANTAS Franchise Tasman Pacific Airlines, which had operated Domestically in New
Zealand with BAe146s went into receivership this year, prompting Air New Zealand
to operate extra flights and Freedom Air to begin domestic New Zealand operations.
Four of the BAe146s are leased by Air New Zealand for the additional flights. By
the end of the year only one BAe146 remained in service and the last Boeing 737-
The 9/11 attacks leave one Boeing 747-
On September 14 2001 Ansett Australia was grounded by the administrators. The New Zealand government ruled out any assistance. Ansett permanently ceased all operations of March 4 2002 with the New Zealand government providing an NZ$885 million loan to keep Air New Zealand in operation.
Cheap domestic fares that could only be booked via the Air New Zealand website were
launched in 2002. Later in the year Domestic services moved to an all-
Fifteen Airbus A320s were ordered in July 2002 to replace Boeing 767-
An engine failure on Boeing 767-
A deal with United Airlines in 2003 saw United withdraw from the Auckland -
The first A320 arrived on September 15 and the Domestic “Express Class” service was
extended to Tasman operations, although a small Business Class cabin remained. Domestically
Air Nelson introduced the first 33 seat Saab-
June 2004 saw an order with Boeing for eight Boeing 777-
Direct Auckland -
The “Express” product was rolled out to flights to Fiji.
The New Zealand High Court rejected Air New Zealand and QANTAS’ appeal for a Tasman Alliance.
On 16 July 2005 the first Dash 8-
In August 2007 an order for five Boeing 777-
A programme was announced in September 2008 to fit winglets to the remaining fleet
of Boeing 767-
In November 2009 a further order for 14 A320s was announced. These are to be fitted
with the new “Sharklet” wingtip and will displace the existing A320s from Tasman
and Pacific services, with those aircraft in turn replacing the Boeing 737-
The Auckland -
The Boeing 777-
An alliance on Trans-
In 1988 the New Zealand government announced its intention to privatise Air New Zealand. In April 1989 this was concluded with the airline becoming owned by American Airlines (7.5%), Japan Airlines (7.5%), QANTAS (20%) and Brierley Investments (65%).
Codeshares were agreed with QANTAS on trans-
The first Boeing 747-
On 28 October 1990 Air New Zealand switched its flight code from the old TEAL TE
code to the now familiar NZ code. Further co-
In 1991 the company was split into six business units; International, Domestic, Cargo, Catering, Engineering and Information. Air New Zealand fully took over Mount Cook Airlines this year with Domestic operations moving under the Air New Zealand National banner. Regional carriers Air Nelson and Eagle Air start using the Air New Zealand Link brand name.
The first Boeing 767-
The American Airlines stake in Air New Zealand was sold in 1992. Conversion of the
Domestic Boeing 737-
The third Boeing 747-
New rights for Air New Zealand to operate flights beyond Australia were granted in
1992 leading to Auckland -
Leases out in 1993 saw Boeing 767-
A seventh Business Unit, Terminal Services commenced in 1993 dealing with ground handling.
The third Boeing 767-
1994 saw Air New Zealand start to move away from QANTAS, reducing the number of codeshares
on Tasman flights and commencing its own Sydney -
Air New Zealand gained access to Heathrow airport in London and serviced switched from London Gatwick to London Heathrow on November 24 1994.
The Japan Airlines stake was sold to Brierley Investments in December 1994.
Domestically Mount Cook Airline began replacing its HS748s with ATR72s, Air New Zealand
took a 100% stake in Air Nelson and Domestic Boeing 737-
Freedom Air, a charter carrier operating across the Tasman, was formed this year with a leased 757. This was in response to the upstart Kiwi Air.
Freedom Air expanded rapidly into 1996, replacing the 757 with 737-
In October 1996 Air New Zealand took a 50% holding in Ansett Australia, becoming
sole owner of Ansett New Zealand at the same time. Ansett was known to be struggling
with underinvestment and an ageing fleet. The same year saw Air New Zealand form
an alliance with United Airlines of the US with Air New Zealand codes appearing on
United’s US Domestic and Pacific services and United codes appearing on Air New Zealand’s
Pacific and Trans-