AUCKLAND, AIR NEW ZEALAND — Air New Zealand has announced that it is bringing the last of its seven stored Boeing 777-300ER aircraft back into service, as it experiences an unprecedented surge in customer demand. 

The aircraft with registration ZK-OKM (MSN38405) has left its storage location in Victorville, California, where it has been stationed since 2020, and is en route to Auckland with a stopover in Singapore.

The airline plans to resume commercial operations for the aircraft on May 13th with a flight to San Francisco. Delivered to the Star Alliance carrier in 2010, the airplane is owned by the airline. In response to plummeting travel demand caused by pandemic-related border closures, Air New Zealand had stored its fleet of 777-300ERs in 2020, with three aircraft in Auckland and four in Victorville.

The most recent aircraft reactivation took seven weeks to complete and involved the efforts of over 100 staff members, according to Air New Zealand. Alex Marren, the airline's operations chief, states that having all seven 777-300ERs back in service will bolster their international operation's resilience and capacity, allowing them to transport more customers to their desired destinations.

This news comes just a day after the airline revealed plans to repaint all remaining aircraft with its older teal blue livery. The eight De Havilland Dash-8 Q300s in Air New Zealand's fleet will be updated with a new black-and-white color scheme. The airline has more than 20 Q300s in its fleet.