Long Way Round: Delivering An A320 From France To New Zealand

Air New Zealand has a growing fleet of aircraft from the new Airbus A320neo family. The carrier operates both the standard version and the stretched A321neo. Over the weekend, an example of the former of these has been making its way to the land of the long white cloud from Airbus’s Toulouse base. This has demanded a lengthy and interesting route.

Air New Zealand A320neo
The aircraft has stopped in Canada and the US on its way to New Zealand. Image: Airbus

The long way round

Here at Simple Flying, we love a good multi-leg delivery flight. Around a year ago, we explored the complex way in which Ethiopian Airlines’ Dash 8 turboprops have to fly from Canada via Iceland, the UK, Italy, and Egypt to reach their new home. For Air New Zealand, taking delivery of Airbus A320neos from France is a similarly lengthy undertaking.

One such aircraft has been making its way to its new home over the weekend, beginning on October 30th. Registered as ZK-NHF, data from RadarBox.com shows that the twinjet departed Toulouse at 13:00 local time. From there, it flew directly across the North Atlantic to Gander, Canada, where it arrived just under six hours later at 14:25 local time.

After an overnight stay, it departed the following morning at 09:38. What followed was the longest leg of its delivery flight so far, taking seven hours and 21 minutes to reach Los Angeles International. ZK-NHF touched down at LAX at 12:29 yesterday lunchtime.

ANZ A320neo Delivery
Gander-Los Angeles is the delivery flight’s longest leg so far. Image: RadarBox.com

The home stretch

After spending an afternoon in Southern California, ZK-NHF took off once again just under five hours later. It lifted off from LAX at 17:19, whereupon it flew southwest towards Hawaii. Its destination was Honolulu, which it reached after five hours and 40 minutes. This made this particular leg the shortest yet, and ZK-NHF touched down at 19:59 local time.

At the time of writing, this was the last sector that ZK-NHF had completed on its way to New Zealand. Interestingly, data from Planespotters.net shows that all of Air New Zealand’s other A320 family aircraft have been delivered from Hamburg or Toulouse to Auckland or Christchurch via Muscat (Oman), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Cairns (Australia).

However, some of its older A320s have taken a transatlantic and transpacific delivery route. In these instances, their final stop between Hawaii and New Zealand has been Faleolo, Samoa. As such, we may see ZK-NHF make a similar stop when it hits the skies again.

Air New Zealand Airbus A320neo
The airline’s other A320neos had eastward delivery routes. Photo: Cammynz via Wikimedia Commons

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Air New Zealand’s A320neo family fleet

Data from ch-aviation.com shows that ZK-NFH will be the fifth of six 165-seat Airbus A320neos to join Air New Zealand’s fleet. It marks the first delivery of the type to the airline since November 2019. The existing four examples are 2.5 years old on average.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand also operates a seven-strong fleet of Airbus’s stretched A321neo model. These aircraft are slightly older than their smaller counterparts, clocking in at an average of 2.7 years old. The airline has another seven examples on order, which will see its single-aisle fleet become increasingly modernized in the years to come.

What do you make of this lengthy delivery route? Have you ever flown on one of Air New Zealand’s A320s? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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