Celebrating 80 years of operation this year, Air New Zealand traces its lineage back to two airlines, one international and one domestic, and prides itself on giving both locals and visitors “The World’s Warmest Welcome”. Patrick Boniface takes up the story.
The airline we know today as Air New Zealand had its beginning on April 26, 1940, when Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) was registered in Wellington. The shares were split in uneven portions between the New Zealand government, Union Airways, Qantas and BOAC, the last of which had the largest share at 38%. Four days later, Short Empire flying boat ZK-AMA Aotearoa carried ten passengers from Auckland to Sydney, marking the start of flight operations.