Air New Zealand will tomorrow commemorate its 75 year anniversary with a re-enactment of the airline’s inaugural flight on a Sydney Harbour ferry.
On 30 April 1940, Tasman Empire Airways Limited, which later became Air New Zealand, launched its first flight between Auckland and Rose Bay, Sydney.
To celebrate the milestone, Air New Zealand will transform the interior of Sydney’s Lady Herron ferry to replicate the Short S30 flying boat that was used on the first flight 75 years ago.
The exhibition will run for one week and is expected to reach approximately 1,000 people per day.
The airline has come a long way since the initial flight to Rose Bay, which carried nine passengers and took nine hours to reach the destination.
Now, Air New Zealand’s Auckland-Sydney flight takes just over three hours and is operated by a modern fleet including the 787-9 Dreamliner.
To mark this milestone, the airline will take a step back in time and operate a special themed service on the route including a 1940s menu and a parade of the airline’s former crew uniforms.
Commemorations are also taking place in the airline’s home country with a free exhibition at New Zealand’s national museum running until June.
The exhibition celebrates the airline’s history by showcasing heritage items, photos, advertisements and video footage and has welcomed more than 200,000 visitors since it opened in December last year.
It also gives visitors an insight into the airline’s future with a virtual reality cabin, which has been enjoyed by over 68,000 visitors.
New Zealand Post has also been involved in the celebrations, issuing a commemorative stamp collection in recognition of Air New Zealand’s achievements over 75 years.