Air NZ staff told to lift their game

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 13:04 30/07/2014
Christopher Luxon
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
TRUST HIT: "Put simply we failed more than 200 customers and as chief executive officer I am ultimately accountable for this," Christopher Luxon told staff.

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Air New Zealand staff and suppliers have been told to lift their game after a series of embarrassing mishaps, including a three-day delay of a flight from Honolulu this week.

In a note to staff chief executive Christopher Luxon said he was personally overseeing a "detailed review" of Flight NZ9's lengthy delay from Honolulu to Auckland.

The review would include all aspects of the delay and the airline's management of it, from both an operational and customer experience perspective, Luxon said.

"Events like our management of NZ9 have a big impact on our reputation and the trust customers place in us," Luxon said.

"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."

Air New Zealand yesterday issued a $1000 apology to each of the 227 passengers who were stranded in Hawaii from Sunday night (NZ time) until Tuesday morning Honolulu time when one of its aircraft's systems indicated there was an engine problem despite nothing being mechanically wrong.

Flight NZ9, which was rescheduled to operate as flight NZ6889, is expected to arrive in Auckland at 2.50pm today.

The NZ9 delay was the latest in a string of recent incidents in which Air New Zealand and its customers had been consistently let down by staff and suppliers, Luxon said.

These included passengers on a cancelled flight from Christchurch to Nelson being put on a bus and spending 22 hours trapped on the road in a storm, before returning to Christchurch. They were offered a full refund of their airfares and compensation for the ordeal.

It was revealed last month an Air New Zealand pilot had made a serious safety error when he failed to abort a landing in poor visibility at an altitude of 60 metres on a flight from Auckland to Christchurch. The October 2011 flight was carrying six crew and 128 passengers. The pilot no longer works for the airline.

Two Air New Zealand pilots were stood down this month after the co-pilot had forced entry into the cockpit when the captain failed to openthe door on a trans-Tasman flight.

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And last week a former Air New Zealand staff member appeared in court charged with smuggling methamphetamine into New Zealand while working as a cabin attendant in May.

He was remanded on bail until his next appearance in September.

- Stuff

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