Final journey for Air NZ’s Boeing 767
It has carried everyone from the Pope to the Rolling Stones but on Friday, Air New Zealand’s last Boeing 767 made its final commercial flight.
The 230-seat aircraft’s pending retirement was announced last August by the airline, and will be replaced by Airbus A320s and Boeing 777 and 787-9s.
Air New Zealand has been progressively replacing its 767 fleet with the more fuel efficient Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner since July 2014 with a further two 787s to be delivered later this year.
The airline has a total of 13 787s on order, with deliveries running until late 2018.
Its final job was the Auckland to Sydney return flight on March 31, taking off at 4.05pm and touching back down on New Zealand soil just before midnight.
‘‘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,’’ Liddy, who has spent 11 years on the 767, said.
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 retired its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft on Friday, March 31.