During that time, the airline has made 7,700 return trips from Auckland to London via Los Angeles, flying nearly 300 million kilometres – the equivalent of a trip to the sun and back!
Over the past 30 years the airline has carried more than 9.2 million passengers on its core NZ1/2 services between Auckland-Los Angeles and Los Angeles-London, including thousands of actors, sporting personalities and rock stars; a dozen princesses and princes and one British Monarch. Queen Elizabeth II took her first commercial flight on NZ1 accompanied by 28 members of the Royal Household and 384 fare-paying passengers.
On the 25th August 1982, when Air New Zealand sent a Boeing 747-200 to London for the first time, the aircraft was known as the “Ritz of the Skies” because of its luxurious superior silver service. Fast forward to 2012 and Air New Zealand’s fleet is one of the newest on the route with state-of-the-art seating from the innovative custom-designed Spaceseat to the world’s only lie-flat Economy option, the Skycouch.
Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson says the route has been historically significant in connecting New Zealand passengers to London and onwards to Europe, via Los Angeles.
“While product design has advanced, our genuine Kiwi service continues to set us apart,” he says.
“In 1982 British magazine Executive Travel named Air New Zealand Best Carrier to the Pacific. In 2012 we were named Airline of the Year by Air Transport World, no small feat for an airline from a corner of the South Pacific.”
Mr Thompson says the airline is proud to offer a uniquely Kiwi experience to its customers throughout their journey.
“Our in-flight menus and wine lists have always featured the best New Zealand has to offer. Pheasant Souvaroff and chateau potatoes were offered onboard the inaugural flight. Our August 2012 menu offers contemporary choices such as lamb prepared two ways – seared loin and braised lamb shank with pancetta fried potatoes. Our award-winning New Zealand wine list, carefully selected by our panel of wine consultants, also improves with age.”
Air New Zealand is running a number of promotional initiatives in the US and UK markets to mark the occasion.