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Stop the embarrassing goofs, Air NZ warns staff and suppliers 

July 31, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has told staff and suppliers to sharpen up their acts after a series of embarrassing blunders and mishaps, including a three-day delay of a B767-300 flight to Auckland from Honolulu this week that saw the airline offer passengers NZD 1000 each in compensation.

Air New Zealand is riding a high at the moment, with glowing prospects and profitability, a shining reputation and a new B787 Dreamliner having entered service with much razzmatazz.

But there’s another side. Luxon has sent a memo to staff saying that he is personally overseeing a “detailed review” of Flight NZ9’s lengthy delay from Honolulu to Auckland, Fairfax New Zealand’s Business Day has reported.

“Events like our management of NZ9 have a big impact on our reputation and the trust customers place in us,” Luxon’s memo stated.

“Put simply we failed more than 200 customers and as chief executive officer I am ultimately accountable for this.

“I want to ensure that as an organisation we do not repeat the mistakes of the past three days again and if this means investing in training our teams further in disrupt management or purchasing new systems for enhanced communications with customers, that’s what we will do.”

The final Air New Zealand passengers stranded in Honolulu since last Sunday night were returning to Auckland yesterday evening.

Air New Zealand has offered compensation with a NZD 1000 apology for each passenger.

Air New Zealand’s general manager customer experience, Carrie Hurihanganui, said that due to “the lengthy nature of this disruption, the difficulty we’ve experienced in adequately communicating with customers and the fact we have repeatedly let them down” the airline had decided that “in addition to our unreserved apology we will also be compensating each customer NZD 1000 in either cash or Airpoints Dollars”.

The recompense could cost the airline NZD 227,000 all up.

“Due to an unfortunate combination of events,” Hurihanganui continued, “this group of passengers has travelled to Honolulu Airport on three occasions expecting to fly, however, on each occasion the aircraft has been unable to depart because of a series of evolving engineering issues.”

Departure times were repeatedly pushed back, driving the passengers to distraction as replacement parts were sourced from Auckland and the US. Passengers on a later flight reported that some of the stranded travellers had offered them NZD 1300 to swap seats with them.

Luxon said the NZ9 delay was the latest recent incident which had seen Air New Zealand and its customers let down by staff and suppliers,.

In May, passengers who bought Air New Zealand tickets to fly to their destination finished up instead stranded inside a leaky bus with no toilets in a wild storm, fearing for their lives and unable to communicate with the outside world. Flight turned into nightmare on leaky bus without toilets

Then, early in July, an Air New Zealand first officer was locked out of the cockpit on a flight between Perth and Auckland, leading to two of the airline’s pilots being stood down for weeks and their cabin crew offered counselling. In-flight scare as Air NZ co-pilot locked out of cockpit

As if those weren’t embarrassing enough, last week a former Air New Zealand flight attendant was charged with smuggling methamphetamine into New Zealand while working for the airline in May. A court bailed him to appear in September.

And in June, an Air New Zealand pilot was revealed to have made a serious safety error in failing to abort a poor-visibility landing on a flight from Auckland to Christchurch. That incident happened in 2011 but the disclosure was recent. The pilot reportedly no longer works for the airline.

Written by : Peter Needham

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