Kia Ora Tinsel Town! Air New Zealand Marks 40 Years in Los Angeles

An Air New Zealand aircraft taxis at Los Angeles LAX
InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Air New Zealand is celebrating four decades of connecting New Zealanders directly with the bright lights of Hollywood.

In April 1984, the Kiwi carrier took off on its first non-stop service from Auckland to Los Angeles, cementing Air New Zealand as the longest serving non-stop carrier on the route.

Air New Zealand: Kia Ora LA!

Air New Zealand is soaring high celebrating four decades of connecting New Zealand directly to the dazzling lights of Los Angeles.

This milestone marks them as the longest-serving non-stop carrier on the route, solidifying their commitment to bridging the Pacific.

While their Los Angeles story began in 1965, those early flights included refueling stops in tropical paradises like Nadi, Tahiti, or Honolulu. The game changer came in April 1984, with the inaugural non-stop service on a mighty Boeing 747.

Eddie Maloney from North Las Vegas, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“This 40-year anniversary of flying AKL-LAX is a true testament to the enduring popularity of our service,” says Scott Carr, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Long Haul.

Los Angeles has captivated Kiwis for years, offering a chance to explore the world of Hollywood and beyond. It’s also served as a crucial gateway to the United States, connecting countless travelers to their final destinations.

“Likewise, for our US customers, our LAX to AKL service has been one of our most popular routes for connecting visitors to Aotearoa,” remarks Carr.

The sentiment clearly rings true for American travelers. The LAX to AKL route has been a favorite for those seeking the unique “Kiwi experience.” According to Carr, the experience truly begins onboard with Air New Zealand.

Share Your Memories

To commemorate this occasion, Air New Zealand is launching a competition. Kiwis are invited to share their most cherished memories of flying the LA route. The lucky winner will score Premium Economy flights for four to the City of Angels.

Meanwhile, festivities are taking flight at LAX with celebrations planned at the gate lounge and departure area.

Passengers heading to New Zealand can expect exciting giveaways, a Kiwi-themed photo booth, and prizes to mark the 40th anniversary.

Alan Wilson , CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles: 40 Years and an All-Star Cast

The route between Auckland and LA boasts a rich history filled with unique experiences. It saw the 2009 Matchmaking Flight, complete with a “Bachelor”-hosted singles cabin.

2003 witnessed the launch of the Lord of the Rings Boeing 747 livery with Viggo Mortensen in attendance. Down through the decades, Air New Zealand has consistently brought a touch of Kiwi magic to the skies.

They even hold the distinction of welcoming Queen Elizabeth II onboard in 1995, making it the first routine commercial flight used by a British monarch.


Since the non-stop service began in 1984, Air New Zealand has flown daily to Los Angeles (with a brief pandemic pause). Today, they offer up to ten return services a week, solidifying their commitment to this key route.

Here are some fun facts to celebrate 40 years of connecting Auckland and LA:

  • Over 40,000 flights operated between Auckland and LA since 1984.
  • A diverse range of passengers, including royalty (Queen Elizabeth II) and a Sumatran Tiger on its way to Auckland Zoo in 2022.
  • More than 12 million passengers flown on the route since 1984.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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