3 Jun 2014

Air NZ chief sees potential in the US

5:01 pm on 3 June 2014

Chief executive of Air New Zealand Christopher Luxon said the company has to be ruthless about ditching unprofitable routes.

The company has announced it is buying 14 aircraft from Airbus, which have a combined list price of about $US1.5 billion.

The majority of the planes are due to be delivered between 2017 and 2019.

Christopher Luxon.

Christopher Luxon. Photo: AIR NEW ZEALAND

Mr Luxon told CNN the new aircraft will cut fuel costs on certain routes.

He said the airline is also aiming to convert potential travellers to New Zealand from the Americas into actual visitors.

"Forty million tell us they have New Zealand on their bucket list, but last year only 220,000 came so that's a marketing and sales challenge."

He said this year the airlines North American traffic grew 13 to 15 percent, with outbound travel from the US growing by around 1.7 percent.

Tracking technology available

Aircraft maker Airbus says that technology to continuously track planes is available and that using it to prevent problems such as the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane simply requires a decision by airlines.

Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said the tracking would need to be made manadatory by regulators or certification authorities.

He told CNN it would work if every airline had to use the technology, particularly for those flying over water.