Air New Zealand Limited (NZX: AIR, ASX: AIZ) is the national airline and flag carrier of New Zealand. Based in Auckland, the airline operates scheduled passenger flights to 25 domestic and 26 international destinations in 15 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. The airline has been a member of the Star Alliance since 1999.
Air New Zealand originated in 1940 as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), a flying boat company operating trans-Tasman flights between New Zealand and Australia. TEAL became wholly owned by the New Zealand government in 1965, whereupon it was renamed Air New Zealand. The airline mainly served international routes until 1978, when the government merged it and the domestic-orientated New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC) into a single airline under the Air New Zealand name. Air New Zealand was largely privatised in 1989, but returned to majority government ownership in 2001 after a failed tie up with Australian carrier Ansett Australia (when Ansett suffered financial issues and folded operations during that year). As of 2008, Air New Zealand carries 11.7 million passengers annually.
Air New Zealand's route network focuses on Australasia and the South Pacific, with long-haul services to East Asia, North America and the United Kingdom. It was the last airline to circumnavigate the world because of its flagship NZ1/2 (Heathrow – Los Angeles – Auckland) and NZ39/38 (Auckland – Hong Kong – Heathrow) flights, the latter of which ended in March 2013 when Air New Zealand stopped Hong Kong – London flights, in favour of a code sharing deal with Cathay Pacific. The airline's main hub is Auckland Airport, located near Mangere in the southern part of the Auckland urban area. Air New Zealand is headquartered in a building called "The Hub", located 20 km (12 mi) away from Auckland Airport, in the Western Reclamation, in central Auckland.
Air New Zealand currently operates an international long-haul fleet consisting of mainly the Boeing 777 variant family, with Boeing 767-300 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft supplementing them. Airbus A320 aircraft operate on short-haul international routes (i.e. to Australia and the Pacific Islands), and on domestic routes alongside Boeing 737-300 airliners. Air New Zealand's regional subsidiaries, Air Nelson, Eagle Airways, and Mount Cook Airline, operate additional short-haul New Zealand domestic services using turboprop aircraft. Air New Zealand was awarded Airline of the Year in 2010 and 2012 by the Air Transport World Global Airline Awards.
A Douglas DC-8 at Sydney Airport in the early 1970s. Air New Zealand was an early operator of the DC-8. Note the pre-1973 livery with the Southern Cross on the tail.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was first delivered in 1973, and were the first Air NZ aircraft to feature the now ubiquitous koru logo.
The Boeing 747-200 was introduced in 1981; the 747, both -200 and -400 variants, was a mainstay of Air New Zealand's fleet until the early 2010s.
Air New Zealand introduced its first Boeing 767 in 1985
Main article: History of Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand began as TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) in 1940, operating Short Empire flying boats on trans-Tasman routes. Following World War II, TEAL operated weekly flights from Auckland to Sydney, and added Wellington and Fiji to its routings. The New Zealand and Australian governments purchased 50% stakes in TEAL in 1953, and the airline ended flying boat operations in favour of propeller and turboprop airliners by 1960. With the introduction of the DC-8 in 1965, TEAL became Air New Zealand—the New Zealand government having purchased Australia's 50% stake in the carrier.
With the increased range of the Douglas DC-8s, its first jet aircraft, Air New Zealand began transpacific services to the United States and Asia, and added Los Angeles and Honolulu as destinations in 1965. The airline further acquired wide-body McDonnell Douglas DC-10 airliners, the first of which arrived in 1973. Alongside the DC-10's introduction came a new koru-inspired logo for the airline, which remains to this day.
In 1978, the domestic airline National Airways Corporation (NAC) and its subsidiary Safe Air were merged into Air New Zealand to form a single national airline, further expanding the carrier's operations. As a result, NAC's Boeing 737 and Fokker F27 aircraft joined Air New Zealand's fleet alongside its DC-8 and DC-10 airliners. The merger also resulted in the airline having two IATA airline designators: TE from Air New Zealand and NZ from the NAC. TE continued to be used for international flights and NZ for domestic flights until 1990, when international flights assumed the NZ code.
In 1981, Air New Zealand introduced its first Boeing 747 airliner, and a year later initiated service to London via Los Angeles. 1985 saw the introduction of Boeing 767-200ER airliners to fill the large size gap between the Boeing 737 and 747 (the DC-8 and DC-10 had been withdrawn by 1983). In 1989 the airline was privatised with a sale to a consortium headed by Brierley Investments Ltd. (with remaining stakes held by Qantas, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, and the New Zealand government). The New Zealand air transport market underwent deregulation in 1990, prompting Air New Zealand to acquire a 50% stake in Ansett Australia in 1995.
In March 1999, Air New Zealand became a member of the Star Alliance. From 1999 through 2000, Air New Zealand became embroiled in an ownership battle over Ansett with co-owner News Limited over a possible sale of the under-performing carrier to Singapore Airlines.
Merger with Ansett
Further information: Air New Zealand-Ansett Australia merger
In 2000, Air New Zealand announced that it had chosen instead to acquire the entirety of Ansett Australia (increasing its 50% stake in the carrier to 100%) for A$680 million from News Corporation Ltd. Many believe this to have been a critical mistake, as Ansett's fleet, staffing levels and infrastructure far outweighed that of Air NZ. Subsequently, both carriers' profitability came under question, and foreign offers to purchase the Air New Zealand Group were considered. In September 2001, plagued by costs it could not possibly afford, the Air New Zealand / Ansett Group neared collapse. A failed attempt at purchasing Virgin Blue was the final straw, and on 12 September, out of both time and cash, Air New Zealand placed Ansett Australia into voluntary administration, following which Ansett was forced to cease operations. Air New Zealand announced a NZ$1.425 billion operating loss.
Air New Zealand added the Boeing 777-200ER to its fleet in 2004. As of 2014, the 777-200ER and the larger -300ER form the core of the airline's long-haul fleet.
In October 2001, Air New Zealand was re-nationalised under a New Zealand government NZ$885 million rescue plan (with the government taking a 76.5% stake), and subsequently received new leadership. This act was the only thing that spared Air New Zealand from also going into administration, without which it too would have joined its now bankrupt subsidiary, Ansett, and likely would have been grounded.
In 2002, Air New Zealand reconfigured its domestic operations under a low-cost airline business plan, and the New Zealand government weighed (and later refused) a proposal from Qantas to purchase a one-fifth stake in the carrier. Air New Zealand returned to profitability in 2003, reporting a net profit of $NZ165.7 million for that year. The carrier saw increasing profits through 2004 and 2005. In 2004, the airline announced a comprehensive relaunch of its long-haul product, featuring the introduction of new seats in its business, premium economy, and economy class cabins.
In 2003, Air New Zealand added the Airbus A320 airliner to its fleet for use on short-haul international flights. In 2005, the airline received its first Boeing 777 aircraft (–200ER variant), and placed orders for the Boeing 787 in 2004. The airline later was announced as the launch customer for the -9 variant of the 787.
On 21 December 2010, the New Zealand government approved an alliance between Air New Zealand and Australian airline Virgin Blue (now named Virgin Australia), which allows both airlines to expand operations between Australia and New Zealand with codeshares for trans-Tasman and connecting domestic flights, reciprocal access to lounges and frequent flyer programs. Air New Zealand subsequently purchased a 26% shareholding in Virgin Australia Holdings (the owner of Virgin Australia/V Australia/Pacific Blue/Polynesian Blue) to cement the relationship. It is understood to be a long term holding with Air New Zealand saying that at present it does not wish to own more.
In 2011, Air New Zealand introduced the Boeing 777-300ER airliner, as well as the Economy Skycouch, a set of three economy class seats that could be converted into a flat multi-purpose surface by raising the leg rests. After a ten year delay, Air New Zealand took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in 9 July 2014. On 12 September 2014, the airline withdrew the Boeing 747 after 33 years of service, leaving Air New Zealand with a completely twin-engined jet fleet.
During 18–19 November 2013, Fifth National Government reduced its share in Air New Zealand from 73% to 53% as part of its controversial asset sales programme. It made $365 million from this deal.
Corporate affairs and identity
"The Hub," Air New Zealand head office 36.84492°S 174.75332°E
The Air New Zealand head office, "The Hub," is a 15,600 square metres (168,000 sq ft) office park located at the corner of Beaumont and Fanshawe Streets in Western Reclamation Precinct 2, Auckland City; it includes two connected six level buildings. The facility consists of a lot of glass to allow sunlight and therefore reduce electricity consumption. The building does not have cubicle walls. Lights automatically turn on at 7:30 A.M. and turn off at 6 P.M. Sensors throughout the building can turn on lights if they detect human activity, and turn off lights if human activity is not detected for 15 minutes. The building cost $60 million New Zealand dollars to build and develop. From late September to early October 2006 the airline moved 1,000 employees from four buildings in the Auckland CBD and some other buildings. "The Hub" is owned by Macquarie Goodman Property Trust. In 2006 the airline took an initial 11-year lease for 4.1 million dollars each year; the rent cost is subject to a yearly review to account for increases in property value.
The company previously had its head office in the Quay Tower in the CBD. In its history the airline had its head office in Airways House on Customs Street East