Air New Zealand Flies 20 Flights With Only One Passenger Onboard


Air New Zealand, like many other airlines around the world, is facing some tough times amid sharp demand drops. In recent days, the flag carrier has cut a massive amount of its international and domestic capacity. However, on April 1st, Air New Zealand flew 20 flights with only one passenger onboard!

Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand flew 20 flights on April 1st with only one passenger onboard. Photo: Simple Flying

Only one passenger onboard Air New Zealand flights

Cam Wallace, Chief Revenue Officer at Air New Zealand, shared some interesting statistics on Twitter about the airline’s operations on April 1st. On that day, the airline flew 20 flights with only one passenger onboard.

Needless to say, on these single-passenger flights, social distancing was not an issue.

Social distancing onboard these one-person flights was not an issue. Photo: Airbus

Averaged under 2 passengers

Things did not improve on Thursday, April 2nd. As One Mile at a Time notes, Air New Zealand averaged under two passengers per flight! The data is from another one of Cam Wallace’s tweets:


Some of those flights include jets– like the A320. While some may be shocked at the overcapacity on those routes especially given the presence of ATR’s, Air New Zealand notes that the larger jet is needed to fly the cargo on those routes. Cargo is proving to be a saving grace for a number of airlines around the world. Some airlines are even operating cargo-only flights to move around medical supplies and necessary freight and food.

The ATRs do not offer enough cargo capacity. Photo: Ev Brown via Flickr

Other low-occupancy flights

Given plunging demand and more travel restrictions, airlines are operating a number of flights with very few passengers. On March 25th, Air New Zealand flew a flight from Singapore to Auckland with only four passengers onboard a Boeing 787. All passengers received a free upgrade to business class.

Air New Zealand flew a four-passenger Boeing 787 flight. Photo: Boeing

In the United States, American Airlines flew a single passenger on a jet between Washington D.C. and Boston.

Cutting capacity

As a result of these numbers, Air New Zealand is also cutting its flight schedules. On April 4th, the airline will fly on three return domestic services. This is equivalent to six flights. Total flight time on these routes is expected to be about 7 hours– or less than a return flight between New Zealand and Perth.

Total flight time on domestic sectors for April 4th is under seven hours! Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr


While having a private jet at the cost of a commercial flight sounds great for passengers, it is not such a great thing for the airline’s bottom line. As a result, Air New Zealand is cutting domestic flight schedules after flying 20 flights with only one passenger onboard on April 1st.

Were you aboard any of these one-passenger flights? What was the experience like? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Flying reached out to Air New Zealand for further information. The airline was not immediately available for comment.