Air New Zealand celebrates 75 years since first flight

Air New Zealand is celebrating 75 years of flying today with birthday festivities including a mid-air game show, a chance for customers to win back their fare, and a themed flight across the Tasman.
30 April 2015

75 lucky passengers who book economy fares on the New Zealand storefront of Air New Zealand’s website any time today or tomorrow will be randomly drawn to win a refund of their fare. Draws will be made and winners notified throughout the 48-hour period. 

For customers flying domestically today the airline is bringing back the iconic Kiwi quiz show It’s in the Bag on a surprise and delight basis on main city and regional services. Customers will be given the chance to turn contestant and choose between ‘the money’ (Airpoints Dollars) or ‘the bag’ (a mystery prize). 

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline has enjoyed the ongoing support of Kiwis throughout its 75 years and today is an opportunity to include customers in the anniversary celebrations.

“As the national carrier, our history is just as much about New Zealand as it is about Air New Zealand so this is something for all of us to celebrate together,” Mr Luxon says.

“Air New Zealand’s first flight took nine hours to travel from Auckland to Sydney with just nine passengers on board, paving the way for a nation of adventurers to take flight and explore. It really has been a remarkable journey and we want to thank New Zealanders for being part of it.”

The airline is this morning commemorating this landmark flight with a themed Auckland – Sydney service. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – in stark contrast to the Short S30 flying boat which operated the airline’s first flight on 30 April 1940. Customers will be treated to a 1940s themed menu, a mid-air fashion show of the airline’s uniforms through the decades and other special surprises. Later in the day, a separate celebration will be held in Rose Bay, Sydney, where the first flight landed.

The airline has also announced today it will bring its retrospective exhibition, developed in partnership with Te Papa and currently on display at the national museum in Wellington, to Auckland where it will open at Auckland War Memorial Museum on 20 November 2015. 

“The exhibition has proved a huge hit so far attracting almost 250,000 visitors since it opened last December and we’re thrilled to be bringing this experience to Auckland. I’m also pleased to announce that, in collaboration with Te Papa, we have extended the exhibition dates and it will now remain in Wellington until 26 July 2015,” Mr Luxon says.

Today’s celebrations are just one highlight of a year of activities to mark Air New Zealand’s 75th year, including the retrospective exhibition, the release of a book Air New Zealand: Celebrating 75 Years, commemorative stamps issued with New Zealand Post and a promotion in the UK which saw 75 lucky customers grab return fares to New Zealand for just 75GBP.


Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320