Fi­nal jour­ney for Air NZ’s Boe­ing 767

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

FAIR­FAX NZ

Air New Zealand re­tired its Boe­ing 767-300ER air­craft on Fri­day, March 31.

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