02 March 2011

Air New Zealand - 1981 and 2011

Looking back 30 years ago to Air New Zealand's timetable of 27 October 1980 to 31 March 1981 we can see how the company has developed its domestic operations. I have used flights out of Auckland to illustrate the point...

In 1981 no direct flights to Blenheim - 30 years on 2 x Q300 and 2 x Beech flights each weekday
Christchurch - from 4 weekday 737 flights to 16 each day!
Dunedin has 3 direct 737 flights a day compared to none in 1981
Gisborne had a direct Friendship flight and one via Tauranga, It now has a daily Q300 flight and 6 Beech flights.
By 1981 Eagle Air had taken over flights between Auckland and Hamilton using their Banderirante ZK-ERU. It offers 3 Beech flights on weekdays.
Kaitaia in 1981 received four Friendship flights a week. It now has 12 Beech flights a week, 2 each weekday.


Mount Cook Airlines was operating 3 Britten Norman Islander flights to Kerikeri. It now receives 2 x Q300 flights and 3 x Beech flights.


The newest destination on the Air New Zealand domestic operation, Masterton has a daily Beech flight.
Napier has gone from 2 to 3 Friendship flights each weekday to 9 Q300 flights and an ATR flight.
New Plymouth now has 8 x Q300 flights each weekday compared to 2-3 30 years ago.
30 years ago there were no direct Auckland-Nelson flights operated by Air New Zealand... now there are 9 x Q300 flights each weekday.
Palmerston North in 1981 received a Boeing 737 and a Friendship flight at not particularly user friendly times for businessmen. It now receives 6 x ATR flights and 2 x Q300 flight

In 1981 the only one plane service to Queenstown was a Single daily flight on a Mount Cook Airlines HS 748 with stops at Rotorua, Christchurch and Mount Cook. Air New Zealand now operates 4 direct Boeing 737 flights each weekday.

In 1981 the Auckland Rotorua flights were operated by Mount Cook Airlines, the first two flights being operated by a HS 748s which carried on the Christchurch and the last by a Britten Norman Islander. This sector now receives 4 x Beech flights each weekday.
Tauranga has had huge growth in its flights. From Auckland instead of 2 Friendship flights it now receives 4 Beech flights and 3 Q300 flights from Auckland each day.

Taupo like a lot of smaller centres that were served with Friendships didn't get a great timetable. Instead of the one flight to Taupo leaving at 6.30 am!!! it receives 3 flights a day from Auckland.

Wanganui used to receive 2 Friendships from Auckland each day that had travelled via Whakatane or Taupo. It now gets 4 Beech 1900 flights to Auckland each day.
Whakatane has gone from the one Friendship flight to Auckland, that also served Wanganui passengers for Auckland to 4 x Beech 1900 flights each weekday
Boeing 737 flights to the capital have gone from 9 each weekday to 20!
Whangarei which used to have 2 Friendship flights has today 7 x Beech flights a day not to mention direct flights to Wellington.
When one compares 30 years ago to today one has to say well done Air New Zealand. You have increased frequency and have managed to make flying affordable for so many. Where once people would look to buses and trains now the first port of call is a national carrier with a domestic operation we should be proud of.


  1. A very interesting analysis, and an encouraging conclusion. I would not have thought that the increase in seats was as dramatic as you have shown.

  2. 437 AKL-WGN was always a shorter flight than the rest of the day...
    Wellington based crews who wanted to get home... :-)

  3. Again, amazing to see the differances in todays timetables to back then.