The last Boeing 747 in the Air NZ fleet has made its final flight for the airline today.

Air New Zealand's last jumbo has completed its final passenger flight for the airline but will carry on flying for another carrier.

The 16-year-old Boeing 747-400 touched down in Auckland this morning and has been sold to global aircraft supply company AerSale.

It will continue flying for a so far undisclosed carrier.

The final Air New Zealand jumbo flight departed last night from San Francisco where airport staff served cupcakes to departing passengers, one of whom reportedly flew from Britain especially to make the last journey on the plane, registered ZK-NBV.

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See video: Air NZ bids farewell to the last of its Boeing 747 'jumbo' jets:

During its service with the airline it ran up 68,000 flight hours and completed more than 7000 landings.

The plane was named in honour of Christchurch and in 2011 was used an airlift out of the city following the February earthquake.

The airline's first 747 arrived in May, 1981 and there have been 13 flown by Air New Zealand since. Airlines have been selling or scrapping their 747s - known as the "Queen of the Skies" - which are relatively costly to run. Other jumbos in worse condition than ZK-NBV have been parked up in the desert on the south-western United States in pre-scrapping storage.

Photo gallery - a history of Air NZ's 747 fleet:

Air New Zealand had to keep its jumbos longer than planned because of delays to the arrival of the more fuel efficient Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the first of which begins services to Perth today, earlier than expected after a successful series of flights to Sydney.

Miami-based AerSale specialises in the sale and lease of "mid-life" commercial aircraft and says it has more than 100 aircraft and 400 engines to support its growing customer base.

Customers include passenger and cargo airlines, governments, leasing companies and multinationals.