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Warm Pacific Welcome Planned for Air New Zealand's Fifth New A320 Aircraft

Travel News Asia 20 January 2004

A special welcome is planned for Air New Zealand's fifth A320 aircraft when it arrives in Rarotonga this Thursday 22 January on its delivery flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse (France) to Auckland.

The Pacific stopover utilised by Air New Zealand crew piloting the A320 delivery flights has to date been Apia, Samoa.

However, in view of the recent 30th anniversary of Air New Zealand jet services to the Cook Islands ( with the first DC-8 flight into Rarotonga on 2 December 1973), Air New Zealand decided to incorporate Rarotonga as an alternative stopover en-route to Auckland for the January delivery of the airline's newest jet aircraft.

"The opportunity to showcase our new Airbus to the local tourism and business community in advance of any scheduled commercial flights was an opportunity too good to miss - and I understand there is a great Cook Island style welcome planned for the flight crew on their arrival," stated Air New Zealand General Manager NZ & Pacific Islands, Roger Poulton.

In turn, Air New Zealand will host a number of local VIPs - including the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Dr Robert Wooton and the New Zealand High Commissioner, Kurt Meyer - in a walk through of the new aircraft.

The A320 aircraft will depart Rarotonga the next morning (10.00 am Friday 23rd January local time) and arrive in Auckland on Saturday 24th January at 1.20 pm.

It will commence regular scheduled trans-Tasman services on January 27th between Wellington - Melbourne and Christchurch - Melbourne.

Air New Zealand is acquiring a total of 15 new A320 aircraft and has purchase rights on a further 20 A320 aircraft, exercisable over the next 10 years under an agreement with Airbus. The first of the new A320 aircraft joined the Air New Zealand fleet in September last year, and the 15th aircraft is scheduled to be delivered early 2006.

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