It's a sight we are seeing far too much of lately. Dozens, actually hundreds of aircraft departing their home countries for new homes, permanent ones, in deserts around the world.
Many of our national carrier's former aircraft still fly with other airlines or freight companies around the world. But others are just sitting and waiting for their new life, if they're lucky enough to have one. Former 'Prides of the Pacific' sitting full of memories, but little else.
Bring Our Birds Home (BOBH) is a registered charitable trust, with a sole focus on bringing six specific aircraft the trust believes are much too big of a part of our national aviation history to be turned into scrap metal back to Aotearoa.
The trust has just taken on its biggest challenge yet. It's raising money to repatriate one of the largest passenger aircraft in the world - a Boeing 747-400 previously operated by Air New Zealand, but now owned by Aersale in Florida.
Paul Brennan is part of the team leading the charge to bring this specific bird, registration ZK-NBV, home to Aotearoa.
"NBV is the only remaining original Kiwi Boeing 747 passenger aircraft - all have been scrapped/destroyed, so saving this particular aircraft is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Brennan says the aircraft is currently stored in Spain awaiting the end of its lease period with Wamos Air. He says once that happens it will be scrapped by its owners, as it's not cost-efficient to keep the aircraft in the air.
Since 2015 the aircraft has flown under leasing agreements for Wamos Air in Spain, Saudi Arabian Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines and LATAM Chile.
Brennan said it would cost "well south of $2 million" to buy and return the aircraft to New Zealand.
The aircraft was delivered brand new to Air New Zealand in 1998 and flew for the airline until its last commercial flight, as NZ7, San Francisco to Auckland on September 11, 2014 - a flight I was on and reported from for Newshub.
Brennan says BOBH has just four months to raise the cash before Aersale send the 747 to the scrap yard. Its only value now is as metal and spare parts. There was no market for 20-plus-year-old 747s even before COVID, let alone now.
Calling the Boeing 747 an icon of the 20th century is no overstatement, Brennan said. It changed travel and the world as a whole forever.
"It's capacity and operating costs halved airfares and connected millions of people in all parts of the world and its safety record is unsurpassed.
"For New Zealand the 747 truly overcame the tyranny of distance. Millions of Kiwis launched their OEs on Air NZ's 747s, over 2 million passengers have travelled in this specific 747 'NBV' alone. That is special.
"There are a million-and-one stories this aircraft has to tell, this is why we are so motivated to save her. She is a true transportation and social history artifact of our country."
If the trust is successful in raising the money, its hope is to locate a certified Boeing 747 pilot to physically bring the bird home. The trust has had success before, securing two former Air New Zealand aircraft which will eventually return to Aotearoa, including a DC8.
Where do you park a Boeing 747?
With the trust's sole focus on getting the aircraft back to New Zealand before it's too late, what happens to them when they are here, and where they go, is a separate matter.
"We are solely laser-focused on securing, saving and recovering the six aircraft we have targeted, though an ultimate goal is to display at the National Transportation & Toy Museum at Wanaka," he said.
There are also talks of turning it into a hotel.
Brennan said while donations to the trust's Givealittle page play a big part in raising the cash, the short timeframe means they are relying on a corporate sponsor to come forward with the money needed, and soon.
"The draw power of these historic authentically New Zealand airliners/artifacts can't be underestimated," he said.
"We see these airliners as modern-day equivalents to the great waka - they essentially did the same job though separated by centuries, transporting cultures and peoples across the mighty Pacific, in our view that makes them authentic cultural artifacts to be treasured.
"Taonga," he said.