Passengers on Air New Zealand international flights ate nearly a million servings of ice cream last year, equivalent to the weight of five Boeing 777-300 wide-body aircraft.

The New Zealand flag carrier, which served more than 860 tonnes of ice cream in 960,000 servings last year, says total consumption of ice cream on board has grown by more than 20 per cent over the past decade.

Boeing’s 777-300 has an empty operating weight of 160,500kg, while the -ER variant has an empty operating weight of 167,800kg.

Air New Zealand senior manager customer experience Niki Chave says this reflects the fact that ice cream is a firm customer favourite all year round.

“We’ve been serving ice cream on board continuously for more than two decades, and in that time we’ve offered more than 30 different flavours. Out of our largest port, Auckland, we currently serve more than 24,000 individual portions a week.

“It’s a treat that takes you back to childhood and makes you think of long summer evenings. It’s also a nice palette cleanser after a meal and satisfying to enjoy as you relax and watch a movie.”

Over the past decade the airline has also served more than 4,000 tonnes of milk and 1,000 tonnes of yoghurt in flight, as well as 820 tonnes of cheese on board and in its lounges.

In a December interview with Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Chave discussed her airline’s recent initiative to introduce edible coffee cups.