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Air New Zealand 2023: 15m Pax Plus Cookies, Capybaras and Capsicums

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In 2023, Air New Zealand achieved new milestones in its recovery, serving passengers and cargo alike. The airline distributed a staggering 5.7 million cookies to passengers, became the top flight choice for capybaras, and shipped an impressive 1,900 tonnes of capsicums to destinations across the globe.

airplane at the queenstown airport in new zealand
Photo by Jeffry Surianto on

Air New Zealand Serves 15.9 Million Passengers In 2023

Air New Zealand saw a remarkable travel surge for 2023, with 15.9 million passengers enjoying their services. The airline recorded 169,835 flights, showcasing a robust increase from the 12.3 million passengers and 152,000 flights in the preceding year.

Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer, remarked on the renewed enthusiasm for travel, noting that New Zealanders rekindled their love for exploration while the country became a top destination for international tourists.

“We welcomed more than 10.6 million travelers onboard our domestic flights, a notable rise from 9.4 million customers in 2022. Our international routes also saw significant growth, with more than 5.3 million customers compared with 2.9 million in 2022,” Geraghty said.

In-Flight Treats On Air New Zealand Flights, By the Numbers

brown round cookies serve on white ceramic plate
Photo by Martinus on

Flying high at 35,000 feet, Air New Zealand’s attentive cabin crew served their passengers an impressive array of in-flight treats. The airline served 6.7 million meals, complemented by 5.7 million cookies to satisfy sweet tooths. Not stopping there, the crew handed out a staggering 17 million of the airline’s signature lollies, a delightful treat among travelers.

In addition to the tasty snacks, Air New Zealand passengers were also treated to an extensive selection of beverages to enhance their high-altitude dining experience. Whether sipping on wine, enjoying a coffee, or staying hydrated with water, there was something for everyone aboard Air New Zealand flights.

  • 2.8 million glasses of soft drink
  • 2.1 million glasses of juice
  • 1.2 million glasses of white wine
  • 1.1 million glasses of red wine
  • 934,000 glasses of beer
  • 42,000 glasses of whiskey

Delivering For New Zealand

close up photo of green bell pepper
Photo by Digital Buggu on

Air New Zealand Cargo transported 30,000+ tonnes of exports from New Zealand to global markets. The cargo included:

  • 6,900 tonnes of seafood
  • 5,500 tonnes of fresh produce, including 1,900 tonnes of capsicums
  • 2,400 tonnes of meat
  • 100 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and emergency relief supplies
  • 16 tonnes of valuable goods

VIP Flying Critters

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In 2023, Air New Zealand Cargo also transported over 400,000 animals. The airline provided excellent care for pets and intriguing wildlife on domestic and international flights. Air New Zealand was a trusted carrier for animal transport, including:

  • 324,507 Dogs
  • 708 Kiwi
  • 104 Guinea Pigs
  • 61 Turtles
  • 21 Tuataras
  • 8 Capybaras
  • 8 Geese
  • 1 Scorpion

First-ever Te Reo Māori Flight

In a groundbreaking event, Air New Zealand celebrated Māori language and culture by operating its very first flight with in-flight announcements made in te reo Māori. This took place in February during a special collaboration with Te Matatini. Charter flight NZ 1236 became a part of history, welcoming 171 guests aboard a flight from Wellington to Auckland. This flight was timed to coincide with the highly anticipated Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata festival, often called the ‘Haka Olympics,’ showcasing the power and significance of the traditional Māori dance, haka.

Support for Cyclone Gabrielle

In response to Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact, the airline launched a temporary flight service from February 26th to June 10th, connecting Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. This initiative was a lifeline for the communities, facilitating the transit of over 5,700 passengers, among them emergency personnel and contractors, during the relief efforts.

Flight and Route Reset

In March, the seasonal air service from Auckland to Bali was re-established, and in June, flights from Auckland to the Sunshine Coast recommenced for the season.

Air New Zealand Fleet Updates

After a prolonged 855-day hiatus due to the 2020 pandemic, Air New Zealand reintegrated its last four Boeing 777-300 planes stored in the Mojave desert into service. As of May, these aircraft were back in the skies, completing the airline’s fleet revival.

In a nostalgic farewell, August marked the end of an era for Air New Zealand’s classic teal livery. The final turboprop Q300 with the vintage color scheme completed its last journey on August 13, flying from Wellington to Tauranga. Post-flight, it underwent a makeover, emerging with the airline’s signature black and white design, consolidating the brand’s visual identity.

Selection of Emilia Wickstead to Design New Uniforms

Air New Zealand has recently announced its partnership with acclaimed Kiwi fashion designer Emilia Wickstead for its new uniform design. The collaboration between the airline and Wickstead is set to culminate with unveiling the final designs in early 2025.

The Big Snacks Update

Air New Zealand has taken a groundbreaking step by reviewing its inflight snack options. The initiative has received an astonishing level of interest from local businesses. Air New Zealand called on snack providers to showcase their offerings—400 companies stepped up to the challenge. The result of this search? In November, the airline unveiled a curated list of 14 new suppliers, catering to the diverse palette of their passengers. Air New Zealand continues to enhance the onboard experience and elevate in-flight dining while supporting local businesses.

Air New Zealand Advances Sustainability

In a notable advancement towards sustainability, Air New Zealand has taken a crucial step in its decarbonization initiative. The airline announced the acquisition of ALIA—its first aircraft from the next-generation fleet—in December 2023. The battery-powered all-electric aircraft is designed by electric aerospace company BETA Technologies and is expected to join Air New Zealand’s fleet in 2026.

This small yet significant move underscores the airline’s commitment to a greener future.

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