First Air New Zealand flight connecting Kiwis and Brits through LAX flew quarter century ago this week.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (August 24, 2007) - On Saturday, Air New Zealand will mark the silver anniversary of its first flight from Auckland to London - stopping at Papeete and Los Angeles. That inaugural Boeing 747-200 flight, which departed on August 25, 1982, connected New Zealand and the United Kingdom with a direct flight via Los Angeles for the first time. A quarter century, 12,000 round trip flights, two-and-a-half million passengers and more than 140 million miles later, Air New Zealand is continuing to grow the route, which now has daily departures from LAX non-stop to London Heathrow.
The introduction - and success - of its Auckland-Papeete-Los Angeles-London route in 1982 was widely viewed as Air New Zealand's entrée as a major world carrier. The airline has always been known for its exceptional service; in fact, the aircraft that flew the London route was referred to as the "Ritz of the Skies" because of its luxurious interior and experience its passengers enjoyed. Since then, Air New Zealand has not only survived in spite of stiff competition from the large global aviation players - it has thrived, building the same route to a daily departure schedule and continuing to fly with the highest standards.
"There was a big celebration at the gate when we arrived into London from Los Angeles," said Roger Poulton, Air New Zealand's vice president - the Americas, who was a regional sales manager for the airline in 1982, and was on-board the first flight to London. "At the time, New Zealand was closely tied to the UK culturally and economically, so it was very significant for the countries to be linked by a direct flight. Now, 25 years later and in an era of budget travel, that same route runs daily from Los Angeles with the same high standards and an award-winning in-flight experience."
Not only has the frequency of the Auckland-Los Angeles-London route increased in the last quarter century, the overall experience has also changed with the times. In 1982, the "Ritz of the Skies" had a First Class interior that featured light blue décor with lemon-colored sheepskins placed as headrests. Maori murals and floral displays also created a cabin ambience befitting the exclusivity of First Class travel. Air New Zealand's Business Premier experience today has evolved to a point where travelers can now relax in the comfort of a leather, fully lie-flat seat, positioned in a unique herringbone configuration that allows for privacy and comfort.
This anniversary comes on the heels of another recent announcement from Air New Zealand. Earlier this month, the airline announced purchase plans for four extended-range (ER) Boeing 777-300 aircraft. When the 777's are added to Air New Zealand's fleet with eight ordered Boeing 787-9's over the next five years, the airline will have one of the youngest, most technologically advanced, most fuel efficient and most environmentally-friendly long haul fleets in the world.
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand offers more direct flights to the South Pacific than any other airline, including non-stop flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and starting November 2, Vancouver to New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles non-stop to Fiji, the Cook Islands and Samoa. Other popular destinations include Australia, China, Japan and Tonga. In addition to flying non-stop Los Angeles-London, Air New Zealand's newest route, between London and Hong Kong, now allows customers to fly round-the-world on one airline. Consistently rated among the world's best international airlines, Air New Zealand's most recent accolades include recognition by the Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, the Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards and Business Traveler Magazine. United Mileage Plus, US Airways Dividend Miles and Air Canada's Aeroplan members earn and redeem mileage on select flights. Flight and vacation essentials can be booked on AirNewZealand.com. Flight and vacation bookings can also be made by calling 1-800-262-1234 in the USA and 1-800-663-5494 in Canada.
|Ian Jeffries/Angelina Duran||Karen Laugesen|
|Cohn & Wolfe||Air New Zealand|
|(310) 967-2957 / (310) 967-2907||(310) 648-7039|
NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.