Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland International) reactivated the first of its seven B777-300(ER)s on February 10, 2022. ZK-OKQ (msn 40689) was parked at Auckland International on June 30, 2020, and was in storage there for more than 18 months. On February 8, the 10.1-year-old widebody carried out a test flight, and two days later, deployed it on a commercial cargo-only service from Auckland to Melbourne Tullamarine. Since then, it has also been used on services to Los Angeles International and Christchurch.

"It's a positive sign there is light at the end of the tunnel, and while it's only flying cargo to begin with, we are hopeful that as the border restrictions continue to ease, we will be welcoming customers back on board soon," Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer David Morgan told the NZ Herald daily.

Morgan said the B777-300(ER) had a significantly greater cargo capacity than the B787-9, which is essential for New Zealand exporters during the high season.

Air New Zealand's remaining six B777-300(ER)s are still in storage. The ch-aviation fleets module shows four of them are parked at Victorville airport and two more at Auckland Int'l. The airline did not respond to ch-aviation's request for added comment on their future.

The airline's widebody fleet also comprises fourteen B787-9s and eight B777-200ERs but announced in 2020 that the -200s would not return to active service after the pandemic. The -300(ER)s are scheduled to retire by the end of 2027, replaced by its yet-to-be-delivered B787-10s.