What Are The Oldest Planes Flying For Air New Zealand?

Air New Zealand is a venerable carrier in Oceania. Though sometimes overshadowed by giants like Qantas and Virgin Australia in terms of attention, the airline has shown it is nothing short of a well-run, well-respected, and well-adjusted airline with an impressive route map that once included a fifth-freedom hop from London to Los Angeles, and will soon include a mammoth nonstop Auckland to New York route. Over the years, the airline has also built up a respected fleet, though it is relatively young. Nevertheless, Simple Flying takes a look at the oldest planes in Air New Zealand’s fleet.

A320 Air New Zealand
The oldest aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet is an A320, though it is not the specific jet pictured above. Photo: Getty Images

The Air New Zealand Fleet

Data from Planespotters.net shows that the carrier has a fleet of 112 aircraft, though it likely will not stay at that number for long. Type-wise, the breakdown is as such with the average age of the fleet:

  • ATR 72-600 (3.9 years)
  • Airbus A320ceo (8.9 years)
  • A320neo (1.4 years)
  • Airbus A321neo (1.6 years)
  • Boeing 777-200ER (14.5 years)
  • Boeing 777-300ER (8.5 years)
  • Boeing 787-9 (4.3 years)
  • De Havilland Dash 8-300 (14.0 years)
New-Zealand-Social-distancing-end-getty
Air New Zealand operates both large 777s and small Dash 8-300s. Photo: Getty Images

The oldest aircraft

The top four oldest aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet are Airbus A320s. From oldest to youngest, these are ZK-OJB, ZK-OJD, ZK-OJF, and ZK-OJI. The first two are 17-years-old, while the latter two are 16-years-old.

ZK-OJB
ZK-OJB is the oldest A320 currently in Air New Zealand’s fleet. Photo: XPinger (Chris Sutton) via Flickr

In fifth place is a Dash 8-300, which is 15-years-old, and is registered as ZK-NEA. This is followed by another A320, ZK-OJM, also 15-years old. In seventh place, there is another Dash 8-300, ZK-NEB, which is also 15 years old.

zk-neb
ZK-NEB is the seventh oldest aircraft in the carrier’s fleet. Photo: G B_NZ via Flickr

These top seven aircraft are unsurprising, as those fleets are among the older ones in Air New Zealand’s fleet. However, if you are wondering what happened to the 777-200ERs, ZK-OKA, a 15-year-old 777-200ER, comes up in eighth place.

ZK-OKA
ZK-OKA is the airline’s oldest Boeing 777-200ER, pictured here in the old livery. Photo: Robert Frola via Wikimedia Commons

Rounding out the top ten are Dash 8-300s, ZK-NEC and ZK-NED, both 15 years old.

As for other fleets, in 37th place overall is the airline’s oldest Boeing 777-300ER, registered as ZK-OKM. This jet is ten years old. In 40th and 41st place are two additional 777-300ERs, ZK-OKN and ZK-OKO, respectively.

ZK-OKM
ZK-OKM is the airline’s oldest Boeing 777-300ER. Photo: Alec Wilson via Flickr

The oldest ATR 72 is the airline’s 46th-oldest aircraft, registered as ZK-MVA, and is eight years old. This is followed up by ZK-MVB and ZK-MVC, which are also eight years old.

ZK-MVA
ZK-MVA, Air New Zealand’s oldest ATR 72. Photo: Pete Webber via Flickr

In 51st place is the airline’s oldest Boeing 787-9 registered as ZK-NZC. This jet is only seven years old and served as a testbed for Boeing. Fun fact, this aircraft was registered as N789EX and flew the maiden flight of the Boeing 787-9 in September 2013. Air New Zealand only received this jet in 2015, once its testing time was up.

ZK-NZC
ZK-NZC is the airline’s oldest Boeing 787-9. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr

Aircraft retirements will impact this list

This fleet will not stay this way for long, however. The 777-200ERs will likely not fly for good, and the airline is working on phasing out its older A320 fleet over the next decade and replacing it with newer A320/A321neo jets.

The airline is already planning to go from 22 A320ceos to 13 by 2024 and increase the A320/A321neo fleet from 11 to 20 by 2024. The airline’s young fleet of ATR aircraft is also expected to grow from 27 currently to 29 in 2021, where that number will hold steady.

Air New Zealand A321neo
Air New Zealand is an Airbus A321neo customer. Photo: Airbus

The A320ceo phase-out plan will see two jets retired in 2021, another three in 2022, two more in 2023, and another two in 2024, bringing the fleet down to 13. These planes will likely either be some of the leased ones or else older aircraft that might be hitting expensive maintenance checks, or else are just not as economical to operate.

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Over the next few years, once the recovery becomes clearer, expect Air New Zealand to look for a replacement for its 777-300ERs. While it has Boeing 787-10s on order, the planes are set to replace the 777-200ERs, with the first 787-10 expected at the carrier’s fleet in 2023, per the airline’s latest annual report.

What is the oldest Air New Zealand plane you have flown on? Let us know in the comments!

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