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Air New Zealand has transformed a Sydney ferry into a replica of a 1940s-era flying boat in celebration of the airline’s 75th anniversary.
Commuters on Sydney Harbour were treated to a performance of swing and boogie-woogie standards by The Starr Sisters on the usually sedate journey from Rose Bay to Circular Quay, with AirNZ crew in period uniform inviting passengers to take their seats and fasten their seatbelts.
Character actors were on hand to recreate a 1940s flying experience, while the ‘flying ferry’ will make a reappearance from 3:30pm to 6pm today between Circular Quay and Mosman on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
Air New Zealand’s first-ever flight from Auckland to Sydney – then under the banner of Tasman Empire Airways Limited, or TEAL – took place on April 30 1940, aboard a Short S30 flying boat named Aotearoa.
The journey took a staggering nine hours, now possible in under four, and had just nine passengers aboard.
Landing in Rose Bay, a stark difference to Mascot and where today’s themed ferry service began, passengers aboard the original flying boats enjoyed cocktail bartender service to help pass the time…
… on what was then a once-weekly service.
Air New Zealand also commemorated its 75th anniversary with a specially-themed flight from Auckland to Sydney this morning aboard the newest aircraft in its fleet: the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
NZ103 touched down in Sydney after passengers enjoyed a 1940s-themed menu, birthday cake and a mid-air fashion show of the airline’s uniforms through the decades.
An exhibition highlighting the history of the airline will remain on the Lady Herron ferry for one week…
… which will reach approximately 1,000 commuters per day.
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