Airlines don’t just transport human passengers – but also lots of pets and native species for relocation.

During 2023, Air New Zealand Cargo transported more than 400,000 animals aboard its domestic and international services.

And of course, millions of people took a flight with the airline too.

Chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said Kiwis embraced their love of travel in 2023 and overseas visitors had New Zealand on their bucket list.

“We welcomed more than 10.6 million travellers onboard our domestic flights, a notable rise from 9.4 million customers in 2022. Our international routes also saw significant growth, with more than 5.3 million customers compared with 2.9 million in 2022.”

Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of what else the airline achieved and transported in 2023.


The number of guinea pigs the airline relocated. As a nation of dog lovers, there were also a whopping 324,507 canines who took a flight, 708 Kiwi, 61 turtles, 21 tuatara, eight capybaras, eight geese and even one scorpion.


Glasses of whisky served onboard. Other beverages included 934,000 glasses of beer, 1.1 million glasses of red wine, 1.2 million glasses of white wine as well as 2.8 million glasses of soft drink.


Days in storage for the airline’s final four Boeing 777-300. In May, the aircraft returned to NZ after being stored in Victorville’s Mojave Desert since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

5.7 million

The number of cookies airline crew dished out. 2023 also saw the launch of the Great Kiwi Snack Off as the airline underwent an overhaul of its in-flight snacks, revealing the final chosen products at the end of last year. Over the course of the year, 17 million iconic lollies were also handed out.

15.9 million

The number of customers who took a flight in 2023. The airline operated 169,835 flights across its domestic and international networks, compared with 152,000 flights the year prior and 12.3 million customers in 2022.


Flight 1236 carried 171 passengers for the airline’s first ever flight in te reo Māori in February. Other than Civil Aviation Authority-prescribed announcements, the only language spoken by pilots and cabin crew was te reo Māori. In collaboration with Te Matatini, the flight took off from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland for Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata, known as the ‘Haka Olympics’.


Tonnes of capsicums were shipped by Air New Zealand cargo. A total of 5500 tonnes of fresh produce were exported, 6900 tonnes of seafood, and 2400 tonnes of meat.


The number of passengers – including emergency workers and contractors – the airline carried on the temporary flights after Cyclone Gabrielle. The flights between Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay were set up to support affected communities and ran between February 26 and June 10.


The date in August when Air New Zealand farewelled the last plane with its iconic teal livery. The last Q300 aircraft flew its final route on August 13 from Wellington to Tauranga and has now been refurbished with the well-known black and white Air New Zealand livery.


The year the airline’s final designs for its new uniform will be unveiled. In November, Kiwi fashion designer Emilia Wickstead was announced as the partner selected to create the airline’s new uniform. The airline and Emilia Wickstead will collaborate closely before the final designs are revealed in early 2025.