The story of Air New Zealand started in April 1940 when its
predecessor airline, TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited)
was combined. TEAL used flying boats in its first
trans-Tasman services, and since then, its operations have
steadily expanded in scope, size, and extent in terms of its
The network route was extended from Australia to
Asia-Pacific, to the USA, to the UK and, to Europe. The
Tasman Empire Airways Limited became mutually owned by both
the Australian and New Zealand states in October 1953 but
became owned solely by New Zealand in April 1961.
Aside from the TEAL services which operate internationally,
government of New Zealand established the NAC (NZ National
Airways Corporation) in 1947.
The NAC was responsible for
air services locally between major centers and provincial
towns and cities. This, with TEAL would hence form the
foundation for present-day Air New Zealand.
Flying services by boat from Auckland to Tahiti via Fiji and
the Cook Islands started in December 1951.
It was called the "Coral Route". This route soon included
Samoa in 1952.
first flight was done in the Aparima, a flying boat of the
MK III Solent. These flying boats were used until September
1960 to do the rounds of the Coral Route.
This was at the time when the last scheduled flying boat
service which catered to international flights was
terminated. On December 15, 2001, the Coral Route’s 50th
anniversary was commemorated by Air New Zealand.
The Tasman Empire Airways Limited was changed to Air New
Zealand Limited in April 1965 and continued running solely
as international services provider. The same year was also
heralded as the beginning of a new era in Air New Zealand
aviation, the arrival of the first jet craft, the DC-8, in
The arrival of the new jets signified that Air New Zealand
could deliver services to Asia and North America, becoming a
bonafide global airline.
It was in 1973 that the larger jet,
the DC-10, was introduced to Air New Zealand. Until the 80s,
the DC-8 and DC-10 fleets were both used until they were
replaced by the bigger Boeing 747. On May 1981, the first
Boeing 747 joined the airlines.
Just 13 years after the naming of Air New Zealand from
Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Air New Zealand merged with
NAC in April 1978. This merger formed the first carrier for
New Zealand to offer both global and local services.
The tragedy of November 28, 1979 that struck Air New Zealand
nearly crippled airline and deeply affected everyone, both
New Zealanders and airlines employees. This was when a DC 10
crashed into Mt. Erebus during a sightseeing tour flight to
Antarctica. This unfortunate incident resulted in the death
of all 257 passengers and the entire flight crew.
The privatization of Air New Zealand by the government was
finalized when the company was bought for 600 million NZ
dollars. The deal was done by a consortium which included
Qantas, Brierley Investments, American Airlines, and Japan
In the 80s and 90s, the international network of Air New
Zealand continued to expand, specifically in Asian cities
like Nagoya, Taipei, Fukuoka, and Osaka.