Air New Zealand's Boeing 767 makes its final journey
It has carried everyone from the Pope to the Rolling Stones but on Friday, Air New Zealand's last Boeing 767 will make its final commercial flight.
The 230-seat aircraft's pending retirement was announced last August by the airline. It will be replaced by Airbus A320s and Boeing 777 and 787-9s. Its final job is the Auckland to Sydney return flight, taking off at 4.05pm and touching back down on New Zealand soil just before midnight – all going according to plan.
"It was the first aircraft of its type to have TV screens," senior fleet manager captain Greg Liddy said. "It led the field of technology." Liddy said the aircraft hasn't changed too much in the 32 years since Air New Zealand started flying it, but said the "rest of the world has moved on".
"Pilots, engineers and crew have all got some kind of emotional attachment to aircraft, especially this one," said Liddy, who has spent 11 years on the 767.
The first Boeing 767 in Air NZ's fleet arrived in 1985; that Boeing 767-200ER was followed by the 767-300ER in 1991.
It was an Air NZ Boeing 767 that took off on a scenic Southern Lights spotting trip from Dunedin last Thursday. That flight sold out to 130 Aurora Australis hunters and was the first commercial flight of its kind. In 2016, the aircraft was retired from its four-times-weekly Honolulu service, replaced by the bigger 302-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It began flying Air NZ's new, direct Vietnam route in mid-2016.
AIR NEW ZEALAND'S 767 FACTS:
- The first 767 joined Air New Zealand in September 1985.
- Air New Zealand has flown both types of Boeing 767 – the 200 and 300 variants.
- The victorious Team New Zealand America's Cup crew flew home on a 767 in 1995.
- A 767 charter flight carried Pope John Paul II between Christchurch and Canberra in November 1986.
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