Critters, cookies and capsicums: Air New Zealand’s 2023 in review

An Air New Zealand aircraft at Auckland Airport
Photo Credit: Air New Zealand

From the weird to the wonderful and everything in between, 2023 saw Air New Zealand hand out more than 5.7 million cookies, carry critters of all kinds, and transport around 1,900 tonnes of capsicums internationally.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, says that Kiwis embraced their love of travel in 2023 and overseas visitors had New Zealand on their bucket list.

“We welcomed more than 10.6 million travellers 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.”

Passenger Numbers and Flight Operations

Embracing the Love of Travel

With a full year of unrestricted travel in 2023, Air New Zealand witnessed a significant surge in passenger numbers.

A staggering 15.9 million customers embarked on their journeys with the airline, marking a substantial increase from the previous year’s 12.3 million.

This surge was not only attributed to the enthusiasm of Kiwis exploring their homeland but also to the allure of New Zealand captivating international travelers.


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Domestic and International Routes

The airline’s domestic flights experienced a notable rise in passengers, with over 10.6 million travelers taking to the skies, compared to 9.4 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, international routes saw a remarkable growth, accommodating more than 5.3 million customers, a significant increase from the 2.9 million recorded in the previous year.

A parked Air New Zealand ATR72-600 aircraft.
Photo Credit: Air New Zealand

In-Flight Catering to Customer Tastes

At cruising altitude, Air New Zealand’s cabin crew served up a feast for the senses, delivering 6.7 million meals to discerning customers. From entrees to indulgent desserts, every culinary creation was crafted to delight.

Additionally, passengers indulged in over 5.7 million cookies and savored 17 million of the airline’s iconic lollies, adding a sweet touch to their journey.

Quenching Thirsts

With an extensive selection of beverages, passengers enjoyed a refreshing array of options during their flight. From crisp glasses of white wine to robust pours of red, the airline served:

  • 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

Cargo Operations

Air New Zealand Cargo played a pivotal role in facilitating trade, transporting over 30,000 tonnes of New Zealand exports to international markets.

This included a diverse range of goods, such as seafood, fresh produce (including 1,900 tonnes of capsicums), meat, pharmaceuticals, emergency relief supplies, and valuable goods.

A parked Air New Zealand Airbus A320neo aircraft.
Cammynz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Animal Transportation

In a heartwarming display of care, Air New Zealand Cargo transported more than 400,000 animals, ranging from beloved pets to fascinating creatures.

From dogs and kiwis to guinea pigs and turtles, every passenger received the utmost attention and care throughout their journey.

Team members of the Black Ferns pose with an Air New Zealand aircraft.
Photo Credit: Air New Zealand

Innovations and Milestones

Te Reo Māori Flight and Community Support

In a historic moment, Air New Zealand conducted its first-ever flight in te reo Māori, showcasing its commitment to cultural inclusivity.

Furthermore, the airline extended its support to communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle by establishing temporary flights, demonstrating its dedication to serving communities in times of need.

Air New Zealand Boeing 777 aircraft in Mojave Desert
Photo Credit: Air New Zealand

Fleet Expansion and Sustainability Efforts

Amidst its operational achievements, Air New Zealand welcomed back its final four Boeing 777-300 aircraft after a period of storage, signaling a renewed phase of expansion.

Additionally, the airline continued its sustainability efforts, announcing the purchase of the ALIA, its first next-generation aircraft, marking a significant step towards decarbonization.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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