Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says the 75-year history of the airline is a cause for celebration.
The NZ flag carrier took to the skies for the first time 75 years ago on April 30 1940, when a Short S30 flying boat ZK-AMA named Aotearoa left Auckland’s Mechanics Bay carrying nine passengers across the Tasman.
The nine-hour journey ended when the aircraft landed at Sydney’s Rose Bay.
Air NZ is celebrating its 75th birthday with on-board game shows, random prize draws for people to win back their airfares for flights booked on its website and a “landmark” Auckland-Sydney flight that will feature 1940s themed food, and a fashion show of the airline’s uniforms from previous years.
There is also a special event planned at Rose Bay later on Thursday.
“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,” Luxon said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
Separately, Air NZ said it would showcase its retrospective exhibition in Auckland from November. Currently, the exhibition, which was developed in partnership with Te Papa, is at the Wellington national museum.
And in Sydney, the airline has decorated the interior of a commuter ferry to resemble a 1940s flying boat.
Also, the airline said ferry passengers travelling between Sydney’s Circular Quay and Rose Bay (running between 0645-0930) or Mosman (running between 1530-1800) will be able to see enjoy 1940s entertainment from “The Starr Sisters” and see an exhibition showcasing the history of the airline.
Read more about Air NZ’s 75-year history in the April edition of Australian Aviation, on sale now.