Featured image: Colin Zuppicich/GFDL 1.2

4/21/2001: Qantas New Zealand Is Grounded

DALLAS — Today, in 2001, Tasman Pacific Airlines (ZQ), operating as Qantas New Zealand, suspended operations.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded by the collapse. Air New Zealand (NZ) stepped in, announcing it would honor tickets for the airline and add extra flights to assist stranded passengers.

However, the airline's collapse left over 1,000 staff without jobs, and creditors owed more than US$100m, according to a 2001 report by nzherald.co.nz.

ZK-NZL went on to operate for Mount Cook Airlines (Air New Zealand). Photo: Colin Zuppicich GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

Financial Turbulence

The airline's demise was blamed on difficult trading conditions, caused "directly as a result of the increase in fuel prices and the decrease in the New Zealand dollar." ZQ had accumulated debts of more than NZ$20m (US$8.25m).

Management of Tasman Pacific had previously attempted to keep the airline aloft, with Qantas Australia (QF) possibly taking over the franchise. One thousand one hundred workers, including 140 pilots and 180 cabin crew, lost their jobs.

Ansett New Zealand de Havilland Canada DHC-8-102 ZK-NEY. Photo: Christopher Redford,  Creative Commons Atribución 2.0 Genérica.

Ansett New Zealand

Tasman Pacific Airlines was established in 1984 as Ansett New Zealand, a joint venture between Ansett Australia (AN), Brierley Investments (27.5% shareholding), and Newmans Coach Lines (50% shareholding). The latter already operated an airline, Newmans Air, which would be rebranded. Ansett would take complete control in April 1988.

Utilizing three Boeing 737-100s, services linked Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Its first flight took place on February 13, 1985. Thirteen 90-seat British Aerospace BAe 146s later replaced the 737s. These were joined by a pair of 5-seat de Havilland Dash 8-300s, which had replaced the airline's Dash-7s.

Ansett sold the subsidiary to a group of investors in June 2000, and the airline was rebranded as Tasman Pacific Airlines. After signing a franchise agreement with the Australian flag carrier, it began operating under the Qantas New Zealand brand in August.

Featured image shows a Qantas New Zealand de Havilland Canada DHC-8.

Pre-order the 2025 Airways Calendar