What Kiwis ate and drank on Air New Zealand flights in 2021

The airline also revealed which was more popular: chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
The airline also revealed which was more popular: chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Photo credit: Air New Zealand/Getty Images

It may not have been a big year for international travel, but domestically plenty of New Zealanders took to the air in 2021 and with them all the food and beverages needed to feed them.

Air New Zealand has released details of exactly who and what flew on its aircraft in 2021, revealing it carried almost 8 million customers (7,919,929 to be exact) and operated 118,721 flights around Aotearoa and the world during the calendar year.

The airline's chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty says 2021 showed how Kiwis absolutely love to travel around Aotearoa.  

"7.4 million customers travelled on our domestic network last year, up from 6.7 million in 2020, which is just fantastic to see," she said.

Domestic passenger numbers increased despite Auckland's lockdown amid the Delta outbreak of COVID-19, which meant a significant percentage of potential domestic travellers were grounded for several months.

One of the airline's busiest days on the domestic network was not long after Auckland's borders opened, with more than 30,000 customers taking to the skies on December 23.

"We also welcomed many frequent flyers, with our most frequent flyer taking 230 flights in 2021, clocking up a staggering 96,121km in the air."

Throughout 2021, Air NZ crew handed out almost 4.5 million Cookie Time cookies, 8 million Air NZ lollies, and 1.3 million savoury snacks.

The battle between sav and chardy also took place in the air as the airline served 23,050 litres of sauvignon blanc compared with 21,182 litres or chardonnay.

What Air NZ served onboard in 2021:

  • 176,796 litres of juice
  • 96,632 litres of soft drink
  • 123, 922 litres of beer
  • 40,095 litres of red wine
  • 21,182 litres of chardonnay
  • 23,050 litres of sauvignon blanc
  • 2,142 litres of whiskey
  • 591, 280 crackers

Air NZ also donated more than 720,800 goods including blankets, pillows, and cookies to support a range of charities such as Women's Refuge.

It also went through 5653 litres of hand sanitiser.

Shipments of vaccines and other medical supplies were carried by the airline into New Zealand as well as Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Rarotonga, Niue and Australia.

It was a busy year, especially for the airline's cargo operation, carrying 121,000 tonnes of cargo across New Zealand and the world.  

That included:

12,200 tonnes of fresh produce (largest quantities being capsicums, blueberries, avocados and tomatoes)

6,300 tonnes of chilled meat (lamb, beef and chicken)

2,700 tonnes of chilled salmon

1,600 tonnes of lobsters

6,400 tonnes of other seafood (fish, clams, tuna, mussels, oysters)

The airline also helped relocate more than 600 threatened species and flew 73 conversation dogs around the country.