The aircraft will depart at 5.20pm and fly to Los Angeles, stopping briefly so crew can clear customs before continuing on to its final destination in Roswell, New Mexico.

The aircraft arrived in Auckland from Boeing's Seattle factory in December 1989. While at Air New Zealand it has completed more than 11,400 flights, flown over 88,300 hours (that's more than 10 years, or half its life, in the air) and travelled an estimated 80 million kilometres (the equivalent of 100 round trips to the moon or more than 2,000 return trips to London).

For its last flight, the aircraft has had its livery removed as well as all interior furnishings such as seats and cabinetry.

"The final flight of NBS is a sad and very visible example of the affects of the economic downturn on Air New Zealand," says Air New Zealand Group General Manager International Airline Ed Sims.

"We are seeing long-haul demand down more than 10%, reflected in last week's decision to reduce Hong-Kong – London services from daily to five times per week."

"We are very focused on ensuring capacity closely meets demand and are utilising the more fuel-efficient 777 fleet as much as possible to reduce long-haul fuel costs."

Ends

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 9 336 2761

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.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.