Air New Zealand prepares to farewell the Boeing 767

Air New Zealand NZ105, operated by Boeing 767-300ER ZK-NCI, arrives at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
Air New Zealand NZ105, operated by Boeing 767-300ER ZK-NCI, arrives at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

After almost 32 years in service, Air New Zealand will operate the Boeing 767 fleet for the last time on Friday.

The final flight for the sole remaining 767-300ER in the fleet ZK-NCI is scheduled to depart Sydney as NZ108 at 1855 and touch down in Auckland 2359 local time.

The Star Alliance member has been progressively replacing its 767s with next generation Boeing 787-9s, which feature the airline’s latest cabin products and offer lower operating costs and improved fuel efficiency while carrying more passengers.

Further, it gives the New Zealand flag carrier a simplified fleet structure with three jet aircraft types – narrowbody Airbus A320s and widebody 787-9s and 777-200ER/300ERs. Air New Zealand farewelled the 747 in September 2014.

“The Boeing 767 aircraft has been a stalwart at Air New Zealand for more than 30 years now but moving to operate the modern 787-9 Dreamliners on our long-haul routes will allow us to be more efficient and have a consistent wide-body fleet which will deliver benefits to both the business and customers,” Air New Zealand chief operations, integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan said in a statement on Friday.

Morgan said the transition from the 767-300ER to 787-9 would result in a three per cent increase in capacity on Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman and Pacific Island network.

Air New Zealand NZ105, operated by Boeing 767-300ER ZK-NCI, arrives at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
Air New Zealand NZ105, operated by Boeing 767-300ER ZK-NCI, arrives at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

Air New Zealand’s 787-9s are configured with 302 seats across 18 in business, 21 in premium economy and 263 in economy. The airline will also have three 787-9s in a more premium heavy configuration featuring 27 business, 33 premium economy and 215 economy seats for a total of 275.

By contrast, the 767-300ERs had 230 seats (24 in business and 206 in economy).

The airline has nine 787-9s in its fleet, with a further four due for delivery between now and the end of 2018.

While ZK-NCI will be withdrawn from the Air New Zealand fleet after Friday’s flight, it will continue to fly having been sold to a new operator and slated for conversion to a freighter.

Air New Zealand operated the Boeing 767-200ER in addition to the 767-300ER. (Rob Finlayson)
Air New Zealand operated the Boeing 767-200ER in addition to the 767-300ER. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER at Sydney Airport. The aircraft proved popular with passengers, particularly for its 2-3-2 seating in economy. (Rob Finlayson)

Air New Zealand took delivery of its first 767 in September 1985 and has flown both the -200 and -300 variant of the type. The final active 767-300ER ZK-NCI joined the fleet in November 1994, meaning it has had a near 23 years with the New Zealand flag carrier.

The airline said its 767s have carried such luminaries as New Zealand’s America’s Cup winners, Pope John Paul II and the Rolling Stones over the years.

Qantas farewelled the 767 in December 2014 after a 29-year career operating 927,000 flights that carried nearly 168 million passengers. The last flight was on December 27.

Air New Zealand has published a video of its 767 senior fleet manager Captain Greg Liddy speaking about the aircraft’s withdrawal.

Comments

  1. Anil Kattula says

    Sad to see the 767 go from air new Zealand. Had many enjoyable flights on botbh 200 and 300 including the island hopping service from Honolulu via Apia, Samoa and Tonga to Auckland in the 90s.
    Hope they preserve one aircraft as it was a major factor in making air new Zealand into a great airline, opening up the Pacific!

  2. Lechuga says

    First Qantas now Air NZ pretty sad they’ve been retired. Now the only chance you have of seeing a 767 in the pacific is the Qantas freight one which seems to only go between Sydney and Auckland or the Air Niugini that goes between Port Moresby and Brisbane.

  3. Alpha141 says

    Amazon have been buying up every and any 767 and converting them to cargo transports for their new in house logistics arm. Alot of old Qantas have been completed. They are highly sought after so this one might have a future yet

  4. Justin says

    Ironic how the usaf have started using the 767 as a air to air refueller and Qantas and Air New Zealand retire their fleet.

  5. franz chong says

    The 767’s will always be remembered as my introduction to flying with Air New Zealand in the nineties.I flew Melbourne to Auckland on a 763 on New Years Eve 1998 and came home from Christchurch on the 18th of January 1999 on a 762.Connecting Flights and I am from Adelaide were done on Ansett Australia.I ended up on NZ due to Qantas stuffing my booking around with no notification at all and the alternative on the outbound was a NZ codeshare operated by United on a 747-400 I told myself no thanks to that one.

  6. James Smith says

    Lechuga, Polar Air Cargo still operates a 767 to Sydney and the QANTAS freight 767 to Auckland triangulates with Christchurch. It also flies to Hong Kong once a week.

  7. Tyron says

    And so passes the last of the 20th century jets for Air NZ, The oldest jets in the fleet are now the first A320’s, the oldest of which are around 14 years old and are themselves scheduled for replacement.

  8. Lee says

    Who has bought Zk-NCg? I flew on that aircraft AKL-Mel last week. Was good but time to retire. Very aged inside cabin. Flew rk over and their service is much better as are the aircraft.

  9. Rocket says

    Yes, very sad indeed. Saw the first Qantas Boeing 767-238ER arrive in MEL and the first Air NZ 767-219ER arrive in MEL also… hard to believe that an aircraft has been and gone in my lifetime. I thought that sort of thing only happened to my Dad LOL who saw the 707-138 through to the 707-338C. A super reliable, rock-solid and tough aeroplane, built to last and will fly for many, many more years I’m sure, which is more than can be said for the programmed obsolescence of the Airbus product, done and dusted within about 15 years and very, very rarely seen in another operator’s hands afterward.

  10. D P Dunn says

    Looks like the RNZAF are due to get their 767s when the freight door mods are done. Good Mcve.
    Uncle Darkie,

  11. Kim says

    I first flew on an Ansett 767 Sydney to Melbourne in 1984. Wings flexed a lot coming over the mountains. Last flew in a Qantas 767 Adelaide to Darwin in 2007. We were an hour late leaving, and Captain said he would try to make up time. Groundspeed indicator showed just on 1,000kph at times so presume we had strong tail wind. Comfy in Economy (better than 737 for a 4hr. flight) and we arrived just 10 minutes late. Love that plane! (767 that is).