Air New Zealand flies kiwi-shaped Boeing 787


Avgeeks following the flight pattern of Air New Zealand flight NZ4376 on May 15 would have been a treat, as a Boeing 787-9 took a path that traced a kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird. Since the kiwi bird is unable to fly, this is one of the few times you ‘see’ it in the sky. Let’s see why the airline performed this special service.

The flight was operated by a Boeing 787-9 registered ZK-NZE. It’s the airline’s only all-black Dreamliner. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia Commons

A special flight for children

It wasn’t just planespotters and flight trackers who enjoyed the flight. On board flight NZ4376 were 50 Koru care kids. Koru Care is an association which creates “Unique experiences for the Kiwi children who need them the most” Koru Care beneficiaries are children with various illnesses and disabilities.

Therefore, the special flight 787-9 that took place today, May 15, was Air Zealand’s way of providing a special experience for some of the children of Koru Care, an organization that was actually created by a team of airline volunteers.

“For over 35 years, Air New Zealand and Koru Care have had the privilege of creating unique experiences for Kiwi children who need them most… Koru Care is now a formal charity with four branches in New Zealand. Each of the four branches is independent and run by teams of dedicated volunteers. “

– Air New Zealand website

Flight details

With an emphasis on aviation, let’s take a look at the more technical side of flight.

The special service departed at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday May 15 from Christchurch Airport (CHC). Returning at 2:52 p.m. local time, the flight had a total duration of two hours and 41 minutes, according to data from, and was operated by a Boeing 787-9.

The 787-9 operating this service was not just any regular aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet of 14 Dreamliners. Rather, the aircraft was registered ZK-NZE, the airline’s only 787 painted in a special all-black livery. The remaining 13 jets sport the standard livery with a predominantly white body and all-black tail.

According to the flight data, the aircraft flew at a lower than normal altitude for the cruise. Photo:

Flight data shows the plane climbed to about 26,000 feet (7,900 meters) to begin its drawing of the bird. After reaching the “tip of the beak”, it appears that the aircraft descended slightly, 5800 meters (19,000 feet), to outline the underside of the kiwi, including the rest of its beak and both feet.

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The link between Air New Zealand and Koru Care

Air New Zealand says its bond with Koru Care is still strong after 35 years. In addition to flight support, airline employees always volunteer their time to make trips even more special for children. This includes creating homemade costumes, hosting a “ departure party ” at the Air New Zealand lounge, in-flight care, and even traveling with the children as guardians to allow parents to take a well-deserved leave.

Interested in those special flights where patterns are drawn in the sky? Check out our stories about National Sovereignty and Turkey’s Children’s Day and Qantas Farewell Flight 747.

We would love to hear what you have to say about these special flights! Are they a good idea? Or a waste of kerosene? Let us know by leaving a comment.


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