Air New Zealand is aghast over the circulation of video and photos showing one of its pilots posing with an inflatable doll in the cockpit, while a female flight attendant is shown spitting water with the caption “wish I could spit on passengers like this”.
The images, posted online, have led the airline to stand down two members of its crew pending an investigation, after Kiwi media picked up the story. A third staffer shown in the video no longer works for the airline.
Staff are said to have sent the images on Snapchat, from where they were shared to Facebook and Instagram, with the story featuring prominently in the New Zealand Herald and Fairfax Media in New Zealand.
The airline says the images and video (which show, among other things, a pilot kissing a blow-up doll in the cockpit) are not recent. They were produced between one and four years ago.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman told the NZ Herald the company was “shocked and appalled” by the images.
“We expect the highest standards of behaviour and respect from all our staff. These images were brought to our attention in the past 48 hours and an investigation commenced immediately.”
The behaviour displayed was a clear breach of the airline’s code of conduct and “basic decency”, the carrier said.
In 2011, Cathay Pacific was hit by a similar but far worse scandal, as it tried to hunt down the source of pictures (and reportedly a video) purporting to show a flight attendant performing oral sex on a pilot aboard one of its aircraft.
Some of the pictures, whose existence was exposed (in pixellated form) by Chinese bloggers, apparently showed sexual activity taking place in a Cathay cockpit.
The scandal derailed a Cathay Pacific ad campaign with the tagline: “our team goes the extra mile to make you feel special”.
Written by Peter Needham