Winging it home for the holidays: Air New Zealand to fly a million customers across the country this Christmas

Air New Zealand is gearing up for an extraordinary Christmas, with more than a million customers expected to travel on the domestic network alone, and another 700,000 customers to international destinations between 15 December 2023 and 31 January 2024.
15 December 2023

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Alex Marren, says the airline has been working hard to ensure a seamless journey for customers over the busy holiday season.   

"Ensuring a smooth travel experience for our customers in the days leading up to Christmas requires a coordinated effort across all our teams, from flight planners to airport staff, pilots, and cabin crew – remarkably this means that nearly 1200 tasks such as loading bags, monitoring weather, and ensuring the weight and balance of the aircraft.  Up to 40 people across the airline come together on any given flight to do this and ensure that we deliver our customers to their destinations safely and on-time.  

The airline's busiest day of the year will be Friday 22 December with nearly 50,000 people planning to take off to destinations across Aotearoa and overseas. The busiest route domestically is Auckland to Christchurch, with Wellington and Queenstown following close behind.  

One million customers will be travelling across Aotearoa this summer, from Invercargill to Kerikeri. Australian cities continue to be the most popular destinations for Kiwi customers visiting friends and family with 350,000 customers booked to travel to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane over the holiday period and 330,000 customers are set to take off to destinations around the remainder of the international network. 

Ms Marren said Air New Zealand is well equipped to handle the Christmas rush but urges customers to plan ahead to ensure smooth and uneventful travel through the airport.

"It's such a special time of year, so we are thrilled to be connecting customers with each other and the world, helping people get where they need to be and reunite with their whānau. 

"From our frontline airport teams and holiday hosts, to our crews on board to our behind the scenes engineering, baggage loaders, ops planners, supply chain and many others, our teams are doing everything they can to get you to your destination. We know that travelling can be stressful for many people, so we want to remind customers to give themselves plenty of time for check in and getting through airport security."

Domestic travellers should plan to be at the departure gate 30 minutes before their flight's departure, while international customers should arrive at their departure gate 45 minutes before departure. Some gates might be further than customers realise however the Air New Zealand Airport team is available to help. Please ask for assistance if you're worried about making it to the aircraft to board on time.  

Air New Zealand reminds customers to check their ticket for information on their baggage allowance and travellers with pets, oversized bags, or requiring special assistance are asked to allow more time for the check in process. 

Customers are also encouraged to take out travel insurance, so they're covered in any unexpected situation and to sign up for Air New Zealand's Travel Alerts in case we need to contact them in the event of travel disruption. 

Air New Zealand's tips on how to prepare for travel this holiday season can be found here.

"We look forward to serving you this season and wishing you happy holidays from all our Air New Zealand whānau to yours."  


Notes to editors:  

  • More than 1.7million customers are booked to travel between 15 December 2023 and 31 January 2024 on both the domestic and international networks.  
  • Friday 22nd of December will be the busiest day with nearly 50,000 booked to travel. 
  • More than 350,000 customers will travel to Trans-Tasman destinations over this period, with the most popular routes from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 
  • There will be more than 330,000 people who travel through the rest of Air New Zealand's international network. 
  • The busiest route domestically is Auckland to Christchurch, with Wellington and Queenstown following close behind. The most popular destination regionally is Nelson. 
  • Customers should check the CAA website to ensure that their Christmas goodies are allowed on the aircraft. 




Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

Email: │Twitter: @AirNZMedia

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.


About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.