'Bring Our Birds Home': Campaigners make offer on historic former Air New Zealand Boeing 747

Bring Our Birds Home, the campaign to save and recover six significant aircraft formerly based in New Zealand, has officially made an offer on its largest project yet - a Boeing 747-400 that used to belong to Air New Zealand.

"We have made an offer to the owners of NBV, they are great people so let's see what happens," the trust members posted on Facebook late on Wednesday night.

NBV, or ZK-NBV is the registration of the aircraft the group is wanting to buy.

The post was made alongside a photo of the aircraft in its current state in Roswell, New Mexico, in the United States.

Bring Our Birds Home (BOBH) launched its attempt to repatriate the Boeing 747-400 late in 2020.

"NBV is the only remaining original Kiwi Boeing 747 passenger aircraft - all have been scrapped or destroyed, so saving this particular aircraft is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," BOBH founding member, Paul Brennan, said.

Since 2015, the aircraft has flown under leasing agreements for Wamos Air in Spain, Saudi Arabian Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines and LATAM Chile. 

And while the idea of returning the giant airliner to Aotearoa may sound expensive, it was predicted to cost a lot less than many thought.

It would cost "well south of $2 million" to buy and return the aircraft, Brennan said.

Presentation of a special cake just before take-off.
Presentation of a special cake just before take-off. Photo credit: Newshub

ZK- NBV's History:

  • The aircraft was delivered brand new to Air New Zealand in 1998 
  • It made its final flight, with Newshub Travel onboard, from San Francisco to Auckland on September 11, 2014
  • In January 2015, the aircraft joined the Wamos Air fleet in Spain
  • The aircraft was retired in December 2020
  • Over 2 million passengers have travelled in this specific 747 NBV
If the purchase is successful, then planning will begin on how to get the 300-tonne aircraft back to New Zealand, followed by an even more difficult challenge - finding a parking spot for it.