Air New Zealand is expecting 2019 to be its biggest year yet after serving over 6.3 million meals and pouring more than seven million glasses of wine in 2018.
The airline is expecting to fly 18 million customers in 2019 after accommodating about 17 million in 2018.
It operated about 188, 000 flights during the past year and its customers collectively flew 29.85 billion kilomteres since January 1.
These included flights to new destinations such as Chicago and Taipei.
One Auckland-based frequent flyer flew 639,000 of those kilometres, the equivalent of 15 times around the world, while its most frequent flyer clocked up a whopping 371 flights.
The airline kept a close eye on customer preferences, rolling out a string of statistics of what they ate, drank and watched in 2018.
Of the 6.3 million-plus meals served, Malay chicken with steamed rice was the most popular in economy class with 294,000 portions served.
The most popular dish in the airline’s premium cabins was chef Peter Gordon’s blackened King Salmon with saffron potato mash and edamame.
Surprisingly, Beef Osso Bucco with caramelized onions was the most popular of the 1.3 million New Zealand beef and lamb meals served in the air.
The airline’s excellent New Zealand wines proved a popular attraction with more than seven million glasses served on planes and in its lounges. New Zealand’s signature sauvignon blancs topped the list of the most popular wines.
An expanded Kiwi beer selection also attracted interest with 512,000 cans served inflight, up 7.5 percent on the previous year.
Air New Zealand still offers customers lollies (sweets) prior to landing and passengers munched through 15.3 million of those.
“Air New Zealand prides itself on our warm Kiwi service on the ground and in the air,’’ AirNZ chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said.
“And customers continue to appreciate the taste of the nation when they are with us, whether it be the selection of our outstanding New Zealand wines or menus created by our award-winning chefs Peter Gordon and Michael Meredith.”
Tod acknowledged the airline also had its fair share of challenges in 2018, including schedule disruptions due to issues with Rolls Royce engines powering some of its 787s and significant weather events across New Zealand.