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Monday 18 July 2016

Blast From The Past: Flying Air New Zealand Jumbo Jet (SIN-AKL)

Welcome to another trip report from the past! 

Photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net and Jetphotos.net

I did this brief history of Air New Zealand, to let the public know about its beautiful history. It is one of the top airlines in my books and has a reputation for its special liveries. Most of them have unfortunately disappeared from our skies (the special liveries) but they will always remain in our memories. 

The Queen of the skies: Boeing 747-400


Welcome to my trip report of a flight that happened in the early 1990s when Air New Zealand was operating the Boeing 747-400 on Singapore to Auckland. At that time I flew quite a bit with Singapore Airlines and I was delighted that I got to fly on another airline for a good change. Not saying that I didn't like to fly with Singapore Airlines but to fly on another carrier for a change was a good one and when my mum told me I was flying with Air New Zealand, I was literally jumping up and down! I flew on Air New Zealand's Boeing 747-400 on both routes then months later, the aircraft was downsized to Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 before the route was cut. But a few years ago, this airline restarted this route and operated with Boeing 777-200ER and now the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is flying on this route. I would love to fly to Auckland again in the near future.

History of Air Zealand 

Air New Zealand is the national carrier of New Zealand set up in 1940 which was known as Tasman Empire Airways Limited back then. The initial routes for the company in the early days was between Australia and New Zealand and this airline became wholly owned by the New Zealand government in 1965 and that's when the airline's name was changed to Air New Zealand. This airline started serving international routes in 1978 and was merged with New Zealand National Airways Corporation into the single airline called Air New Zealand. In 1989, the airline was privatised but because it almost went bankrupt for failing to tie up with Ansett Australia, the government took over majority shares of this airline. This airline joined the star alliance in 1999 and is currently one of the safest airlines in the world. 

Current flight route map of Air New Zealand (From the airline's website)

The old fleet of Air New Zealand (First and Second generation liveries)

Boeing 737-200

Boeing 737-300 in the special livery

Boeing 747-200 

Boeing 747-400 in All Blacks livery

Boeing 767-200

Fokker 27

McDonnell Douglas DC-8 

McDonnell Douglas DC-10 

The current fleet of Air New Zealand

 ATR 72-600 (Current livery)

Airbus A320

Boeing 767-300ER (Old livery)

Boeing 777-200ER

Boeing 777-300ER

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

This is one of the airlines with many different interesting liveries. The prominent one is the Lord of the Ring liveries, unfortunately, they have disappeared from the skies. For the non-aviation viewers, have you spotted these liveries? 

'All Black' livery on this Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft (Still around)

Boeing 777-300ER

Star Alliance livery on this Airbus A320 (Still around)

Lord of the Ring (1st Generation) liveries 

These liveries were painted on these aircraft when the trilogies were launched. 

What do you think of these liveries? 

Airbus A320

Boeing 767-300ER

Boeing 747-400

Boeing 747-400

Lord of the rings (2nd generation)

Boeing 777-300ER

It's hard to decide which livery is my favourite. Do you have a favourite? (For those seeing these photos for the first time)

About my trip 

I cannot remember much before departure or after arrival but I remember having the window seat on this 7-8 hour flight to Auckland. Flying the Boeing 747-400 was quite common for me, as I had been flying long haul regularly with Singapore Airlines back in those days. I wasn't into aviation back then but I am pretty sure I flew on Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-200, -300 and -400. For Air New Zealand, it was the Boeing 747-400, what registration? I have no idea. Service on board was quite good and I remember sleeping for most parts of the flight. No IFE system (In-flight entertainment) on the back of each Economy Class seat, only the Projector screen to watch. So if you complain about the lack of IFE system especially on Low-Cost Carriers, you should have experienced the good old days of flying. The only good thing in the past is most airlines offer better legroom space than today.

Here are the cabin shots of Air New Zealand's Boeing 747-400 (This aircraft has already left the airline's fleet). Unfortunately, there aren't any photos of the older cabin product of the airline's 747-400. These photos taken by the Airliners.net photographers were taken in the mid-2000s. The Boeing 747-400 operated for the airline until the 4th quarter of 2014. What happens to these aircraft once they reach a certain age? I will do a blog post on that in the near future. 

The Boeing 777-300ER joined the fleet to replace the Boeing 747-400 while the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft will replace all the Boeing 767-300ERs (Currently 4 767s are in service). 

Flight route: SIN-AKL

Miles: 5,225 

My ride: Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400

Superb photos from these photographers!

Flight Deck (Cockpit) Photo: Hugh M

Business Class 

Economy Class (Upper deck)

(Lower deck)

Window shot photos 

The northern light! Have you seen this before? 

Many of us like sitting in front of the engine and wing so that we can enjoy views like this (below) 

Some photos of Auckland Airport in the late 1990s/early 2000s

An overview of the airport (the Early 2000s)

Domestic terminal 

International terminal 

Even though I haven't flown on today's Air New Zealand, but I heard lots of positive reviews on the airline's offering. Not so much of the airline's 3-4-3 seating configuration on the Boeing 777-300ER, but there are some innovative ideas such as converting the 3-seater seats to a bed. (long haul flights only) 

This is the Economy Skycouch

From this (Photo: Sarmad Al-Khoazie)

To this (Photo: Jonathan Rankin)

For more information, you can click here.

This airline has the Premium Economy Class product on selected aircraft types

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Premium Economy Class (Photos: Jonathan Rankin)

So if you have a chance to fly with Air New Zealand, do it. It has a modern fleet of long haul wide-bodies featuring the latest technology and more importantly an excellent safety record. You will be taken good care by the New Zealander crew and some foreign crew of course. 

For reviews, you can check them out over here.

Stay tuned for my future trip report with this Star alliance airline, to take place probably in early 2017.

Thanks for reading this report!


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