Saturday, September 4, 2010

Air Travel records for future historians

New Zealand has had an international air service since the 30th of April 1940 when TEAL flew 10 passengers to Sydney, the journey taking 7 hrs and 30 minutes. This was a privately owned airline until 1953 when the Australian and New Zealand governments purchased it 50/50.

Since then millions of people have flown in and out of New Zealand. But it appears that records of them have not been retained until fairly recently.  If anyone has some information to the contrary, we'd all be pleased to know about it.

Arrival and Departure forms
Every time an international passenger arrives and departs, a form is filled out by them stating their name, their address, where they are going etc. I can't remember all the details. These records are sent to the airport customs personal who gather them together in flight lots and send them to Statistics in Wellington.

Statistics people scan the slips, gather all the non-identifying information and publish this data regularly.

The forms which are owned by the Dept of Labour and then go to Christchurch to the immigration office where they are kept for nine months and then destroyed. The scans that the Dept of Statistics took are also deleted.

Passport information gathered
Since about the 1980's, this information has been kept electronically together with the relevant flight information.

NAC records
At Wellington National Archives, there is quite a lot saved about this company but I could not spot anything on the passengers except that NAC created a time capsule with some ticket information in it.

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