Monday marks the end of an era for the Boeing 737-200 aircraft, after 33 years of service in the fleet. This will be the last day of commercial operation for this type of aircraft for Air New Zealand. The last flight leaves Auckland at 8.45am and is due to arrive in Christchurch at 10.05am. On board this flight, there will be some of the original pilots and engineers plus a handful of people wearing cabin crew uniforms associated with the 200 series.
The first 737-200 arrived in September 1968. It was bought by Air New Zealand’s domestic forerunner, National Airways Corporate (NAC), and heralded the beginning of jet travel around New Zealand for Kiwis. The decision to go with the American-manufactured aircraft was certainly a contentious one with the government-owned airline being put under a great deal of pressure to buy the British-made BAC1-11.
In 1992, it rose to the limelight again, when it had to be fitted with hush-kits in order to comply with noise by-laws introduced by city councils in Wellington and Queenstown.
The 737-200 has been the mainstay of the airline’s domestic service on trunk routes, with the company having about 11 in its fleet at any one time. In the past few years it has gradually been replaced by 737-300.