As repatriation flights continue, many “firsts” are checked on airlines’ bucket lists. On April 24, 2020, Air New Zealand crossed off one of its own, making its first-ever trip from Delhi, India.
On an outbound flight, the New Zealand-based airline arrived in Delhi, India (DEL) on April 22, 2020. From there, its Boeing 777-300ER was used to repatriate stranded Kiwis from India. Air New Zealand flight NZ1955 landed in Auckland Airport (AKL) on April 24, 2020.
Delhi is a new destination in the airline’s network, as Air New Zealand never served the city prior to the coronavirus crisis. The company’s Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer Captain David Morgan stated that landing at a new airport adds “an additional level of complexity to a repatriation mission,” the experienced team at the airline and cooperation with both governments ensured that “safety is the number one priority.”
Air New Zealand is set to return to India with flights to Delhi and Mumbai to repatriate more citizens from the two cities. The flights are set to run until April 30, 2020, with a 342 seat Boeing 777-300ER.
There’s a first time for everything. Flight NZ1954 departing for Delhi, India. Proud to work with the NZ Government to bring Kiwis home pic.twitter.com/efsjALlxau— Air New Zealand (@FlyAirNZ) April 23, 2020
While the current situation resulted in a new destination temporarily added to Air New Zealand’s network, the airline was forced to cancel another new venture. On April 24, 2020, the company announced that its plan to launch a direct connection between Auckland and New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from October 2020 was postponed “until late-2021 at the latest.”