Wellington Airport sits on one of the few flat bits of land around the city: an isthmus between the main part of the city and the Miramar Peninsula.
It really only exists because in around 1400 a massive earthquake lifted up the land between what was formerly an island called Motukairangi and the rest of what is now Wellington.
Bordered by the Harbour at one end and Cook Strait at the other the airport has one runway.
Wellington’s notorious for its winds; locals expect wobbly takeoffs and landings.
Because the runway’s relatively short the largest jets don’t come here, so it was unusual today to see the latest addition to the Air New Zealand fleet, the Boeing 777-300ER:
The aircraft, which is being introduced to replace Air New Zealand’s 747-400 fleet, features the new economy skycouch and premium economy seats.
It will fly international routes from Auckland to London via Los Angeles.
The plane is 64.8 metres long and features the world’s most powerful jet engines.
Wellington’s runway is only 1.8km long and the 777-300ER usually needs a runway of nearly twice that when taking off with its maximum weight of 351 tonnes.
I saw a couple of photos, but the plane didn’t really look that big. Then I saw it for myself, on the runway near other planes. It’s huge.
I grabbed a few photos. One’s above. Here are a couple more.
The colour’s a bit all over the place, I’m afraid. I think my poor Canon EOS is annoyed I hardly use it any more.
The final photo shows the plane lifting off about half way along the runway. I was surprised at that till I read the comment above about the plane carrying only crew.
One of the things I love about Wellington is the many possibilities for a great view. I needed only walk a couple of minutes from home to be able to look out over the airport.
These photos were taken from Mt Victoria, about 2.5 km away as the crow flies.