Last Saturday NZ
celebrated 65 years off flying between New Zealand and Australia.
At 6.30am on 30 April 1940, TEAL Empire flying-boat 'Aotearoa' took off from AKLs Waitemata harbour with 10 passengers onboard and 41,000 pieces of mail.
Cruising at 5,000ft and at 147mph, the flying boat touched down on the waters off SYD
nine hours later, marking the start of regular international air services and what would become one of the most important and frequently used air routes for New Zealanders.
From its inception, the route proved very popular and within two months services were increased to three return flights fortnightly and in 1944 extended to three return flights each week. In June of that year TEAL celebrated its 1,000th Tasman crossing while in comparison today, the Air New Zealand Group undertakes this number of crossings approximately every 20 days between a variety of New Zealand and Australian cities.
The ₤NZ 28 one-way airfare in 1940 equated to 30 days of wages, with airfares steadily becoming more affordable over the decades. Today, average special fares of around $139 or less equate to less than one day's average wage.
In addition, the 9-10 hour low altitude flight, often amidst significant turbulence, is a far cry from today's 3 hour flight to Sydney and Melbourne.
Air New Zealand Managing Director and CEO Ralph Norris says the anniversary is a significant moment for New Zealand.
65 years ago our national carrier was born when TEAL was registered in WLG
, followed just a short few days later with this country's first commercial Tasman flight.
"For a country so far away from the rest of the world air travel opened up a whole new range of possibilities for business people, holiday makers, friends and family. The ability to catch a flight is something we never think twice about but it's important to remember all the work that was done in those early years to establish a regular, sustainable airline for this country."
SOURCE: Air NZ
Air New Zealand 65th Anniversary Retrospective
Number of trans-Tasman services a week First Auckland-Sydney service was flown on April 30, 1940 by 'Aotearoa' launching a weekly return service across the Tasman.
Within two months this had been extended to three return flights fortnightly and in 1944 extended to three return flights each week. Between 180-185 return flights per week
Number of trans-Tasman services a year 65 return crossings 9,500 return approx
Number of passengers carried across the Tasman annually
2.2 million approximately
Cost of a trans-Tasman airfare:
28 one way
£NZ50 8 shillings return
As low as NZ
$139 one way.
Standard everyday Smart Saver fares $189 one way
Aircraft type flown across the Tasman:
Short S.30 Empire Class flying boats (Aotearoa and Awarua)
Number of aircraft in International fleet at that time:
Airbus A320 - 9
Boeing 767-300ER - 9
Boeing 747-400 – 8
Boeing 737-300 - 1
Flight time AKL
3 hours approx
Airbus A320 – 850km/h
Boeing 767-300 – 870 km/h
Boeing 747-400 – 920 km/h
Boeing 737-300 – 790 km/h
32,000 - 39,000 ft
Number of passengers:
19, depending on aircraft weight and weather conditions
Airbus A320 – 146
Boeing 767-300 – 234
Boeing 747-400 – 392
Boeing 737-300 – 136
Way to go Air NZ
Air New Zealand - Best long haul airline (2004), Best Pacific Airline (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004)