The First and Last Flights of the Year

Aviation never rests, there are always scheduled services in the sky carrying passengers to their destinations and over the new year period flights are more congested than ever as families try to reunite for the last few hours of the year. Time zones clearly impact travel, and a short distance can flip someone 24 hours forward or indeed send them backwards as they cross the international date line.  Who will operate the “real” last flights of the year in 2023 and which airline will be first to fly in 2024?

Airlines Wind Down Early For The New Year 

To find the last scheduled flights to land in 2023 you need to look at those countries just to the east of the International Date Line, so destinations such as American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia. It seems that airlines settle down early to celebrate the new year. The true latest scheduled flight arrival of 2023 should be the Air Tahiti Nui service from Seattle, which should have landed and sent passengers through customs by 22:20; well in time for the last new year celebrations of the year. Indeed, with seven of the last ten flights of the year to land being operated by Air Tahiti, a small staff party to see in the new year might be the order of the day!

Which Airlines Fly First In The New Year?

Operating curfews and probably a few sore heads prevent any really early morning departures from New Zealand, while most of the pacific islands being on the west of the international date line mean that the first scheduled flights for 2024 are likely to come from markets such as Japan and South Korea. There are some very late night services to a combination of regional destinations and further afield to major hub airports in the Middle East. First away is a MIAT Mongolian Airlines service from Seoul Incheon, and two All Nippon flights to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur respectively. 

Welcoming in the new year is a global tradition that does literally last for twenty-four hours, and not everyone wants or indeed needs to jump on the first flight of the year. But just in case you are panicking, there are currently some 29,632,049 scheduled flights in 2024 and over 4.6 billion seats on offer, so no need to get up too early to make that booking on New Years Day!