Help sought to save Air NZ plane from scrap

The plane carried more than two million passengers for Air New Zealand. Photo: supplied
The plane carried more than two million passengers for Air New Zealand. Photo: supplied
Kiwis are being asked to put their hands in their pockets to save a flying dinosaur.

It is a former Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 parked at Roswell, in the United States, and soon to be scrapped.

Paul Brennan
Paul Brennan
A group of aviation enthusiasts, headed by Paul Brennan of the National Business Review, is desperately trying to save the plane and is launching this week a campaign to raise $2.5 million.

Mr Brennan said he had a deal with the owners, but the money had to be in by July 9.

If successful, Mr Brennan proposes having the 747 flown to Christchurch and then dismantled so it can be trucked to its new permanent home at Wanaka’s National Transport and Toy Museum.

The jet engines, worth $30 million, would be sent back to the United States and used on other aircraft.

''This is our one shot to reclaim this artefact, this icon of our social and transportation history for future generations,'' Mr Brennan said.

If the target was not reached, donations would be refunded.

Mr Brennan had support from the a British 747 preservation group and pilots had offered to fly the plane to New Zealand.

''So, we've got a shot, but it's a hard one.''

He has not entirely given up on the idea the plane could fly directly to Wanaka and a simulation is planned for next month  in the US.

''It sounds like a bit of a far-fetched scenario to me, but it's worth exploring; you never know.''

The Queenstown Airport Corporation has said it would not be possible for a 747 to land at Wanaka because of its weight.

Mr Brennan believes there is potential for the plane to be converted into a boutique hotel once it is in Wanaka.

The plane carried more than two million passengers for Air New Zealand and was once painted with a Lord of the Rings scene.

''I'm characterising it as a nation building iconic artefact,'' Mr Brennan said.

''Kiwis have to decide whether it means anything to them, I suppose.''

Mr Brennan's Bring Our Birds Home group also has its eye on repatriating four other former Air New Zealand passenger aircraft scattered around the world in various states of disrepair.

 

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