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Old 7th September 2015, 08:44 PM
Dave Dale Dave Dale is offline
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Default Trip report: Last Air New Zealand 737-300 flight 06/09/2015

The last Air New Zealand 737-300 flight

6 September 2015
Flight NZ557
Depart: 18:35 Auckland
Arrive: 19:55 Christchurch
Aircraft: Boeing 737-319 ZK-NGI



As Air New Zealand had not made much of secret since choosing the Airbus A320 jets to replace the Boeing 737's, I was always watching out for their exit. Earlier this year, Airline Route published the final scheduled flights for Air New Zealand's Boeing 737-300's. So I went and purchased flexi-tickets just in case the flights were cancelled or moved. I flew to Christchurch for these historic flights.

Background

Air New Zealand first ordered the in the mid-1960's after consideration of other aircraft at the time being the British BAC One Eleven and the French SUD Caravelle. However, the Boeing 737 was selected. In May 1967, the New Zealand gave the National Airways Corporation approval to purchase three new 737-200 jet aircraft. The first aircraft delivered was appropriately registered ZK-NAC.

New Zealand was the first country outside the US and Europe to operate the Boeing 737. And from October 1968 to October 2015, Air New Zealand (in its various forms) has continuously operated the venerable and reliable 737.

Getting ready for the final flight (flying from Christchurch to Auckland)

Christchurch to Auckland

I arrived at Christchurch Airport (which I regard as the best in New Zealand). The check-in was swift using the Air New Zealand kiosks and up the stairs, through security to wait for ZK-NGI to arrive on the inbound flight. She was right on time.

6 September 2015
Flight NZ532
Depart: 16:35 Christchurch
Arrive: 17:54 Auckland
Aircraft: Boeing 737-319 ZK-NGI
Gate: 16
Seat: 9F

While ZK-NGI was at the gate in Christchurch, I took some photos. Unfortunately not the best quality.



Once boarding was underway, it was pretty quick and we were all seated. I had a great view of the engine and the starboard side. I was seated beside a couple who were on their way to Los Angeles. Like nearly everyone else on the plane, they were oblivious to the historic occasion of the day. This flight was full.



Rocketing away to Auckland




The Last Air New Zealand Boeing 737-300 flight

Auckland to Christchurch

6 September 2015
Flight NZ557
Depart: 18:35 Auckland
Arrive: 20:08 Christchurch
Aircraft: Boeing 737-319 ZK-NGI
Gate: 30
Seat: 20A



The flight I came for and many others did too! When I walked up the airbridge out through gate 30, it was quite clear that from all the people with cameras, a boy with a poster and the 'plane' talk that was going on, other's knew about this historic flight.

I stood beside a mum and dad with their son who had made the following poster for the event. He was very informative about the occasion. I was impressed. A representative from TV3 was also about speaking to people. Air New Zealand's chief captain David Morgan was also about.



Not long we were called for boarding. Quite quickly we were all seated and the flight was full. I did not see a spare seat.



For the last take off, the 737 was a like a rocket. I was seated in 20A this time and the noise from the engines was unforgettable. Really great.

Once in the air, Captain Morgan was on the PA and spoke about the 737 and the role it played in the national carrier. He noted that a lot people in New Zealand took their first jet flight on the 737 and for that reason holds a dear place in the hearts of many. He noted special guests on the plane including past and present 737 captains, past fleet captains and flight crew from over the years.

Air New Zealand put on more than the usual service with lovely Creations cup cakes along with trolley carts of champagne for the toasting event.





I sat beside an elderly couple who were on their way home from holiday in Fiji. They did not know that this was the last flight until it was made known on the flight. They told me of their first jet flights which were on the original 737-200's. And also of when they were younger, they would come to Christchurch Airport in the early 1970's to see the 737's. It was such a big event to have jets at Christchurch at the time.

Little Air New Zealand 737-300 stickers were given out:


The toasting to the 737 was the highlight of the flight. It was a brilliant touch to a beaut event in the history of Air New Zealand and New Zealand aviation.

No sooner the rubbish was collected, we were on finals to land in Christchurch. As we touched the runway, passengers clapped marking the end of a great airplane.

Here we are pulling up against the future, the Airbus A320


The whole event was really something. It was memorable and fitting for a beautiful aircraft.

However, as much as I love Air New Zealand, they did not give the exit of the 737-300 the fitting send off it should have had. The event was not widely publicised in the public domain. For an airline that loves publicity, they could have gone all out for an event like this.

I was on the last B747-400 flight for Singapore Airlines in 2012. They really did a great job. I remember the last flights were even advertised on the home page of the Singapore Airlines website.

However what was had was memorable and will stay with all those who were on flight NZ557. I only hope one of the last 737's is preserved somewhere in New Zealand.

Thanks for looking.

Air New Zealand 737-300 Safety Card

Last edited by Dave Dale; 7th September 2015 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 8th September 2015, 09:45 AM
Shaal L Shaal L is offline
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thx Dave
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Old 8th September 2015, 11:17 AM
Radi K Radi K is offline
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Awesome!
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Old 8th September 2015, 06:39 PM
Ian Gains Ian Gains is offline
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Thanks for sharing, Dave.
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Old 9th September 2015, 03:37 PM
MarkR MarkR is offline
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Thanks for the report. It was a pity they could not have kept NGJ to do the last flight, considering she was the last 733 produced, cest la vie
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