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Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) was the forerunner of Air New Zealand. It was first registered in Wellington as a limited liability company on 26 April 1940.The shares were originally held by the New Zealand government (20%), Union Airways (19%), BOAC (38%) and Qantas (23%).

Initial services

The inaugural service, from Auckland to Sydney on 30 April of that year, was flown by one of its two Short S30 flying boats.The first four months of operation saw a weekly return service between Auckland and Sydney. This was expanded to thrice fortnightly with connections to San Francisco using Pan Am flights from Auckland (Pan Am was not flying into Australia).

In the first year, the annual report revealed that 130 trans-Tasman flights had been completed carrying 1461 passengers for a profit, prior to tax and dividends, of NZ¬£31 479.

By 1944, the trans-Tasman frequency had increased to three weekly return flights.

After World War II shareholding passed to equal ownership by the governments of New Zealand and Australia. Four Short Sandringhams and later Short Solents were acquired, as well as an ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force PBY Catalina for survey flights.

Coral Route

The Coral Route is one of the most famous routes flown by TEAL. It was initiated by NZ National Airways Corporation in 1947 using Short Sunderlands but after a survey, was taken over by TEAL in 1951 with the inaugural Auckland—Suva and Suva—Labasa flights in June. However, later that...
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