31 May 2023

Air New Zealand named world's best airline

3:48 pm on 31 May 2023
Air New Zealand planes in Auckland International Airport .

Air New Zealand's chief executive Greg Foran says the airline's recognition with two high-profile awards is humbling. Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/123RF

Air New Zealand says it is not just passengers who will be weighed during an upcoming regulatory survey, but onboard items such as cutlery and pillows too.

The airline's chief executive Greg Foran told First Up about 10,000 of its international passengers would be anonymously weighed over the next three or four weeks as part of the five-yearly survey.

"This is a regulatory requirement," he said.

"It is about safety and safety is paramount to us as an airline."

He said Air New Zealand, which has just been named Airline of the Year by airline safety and product rating website AirlineRatings.com, did not keep any of the data and was not interested in any individual's weight.

"We're interested in taking the average weight, and we use that average because every time we fly, we like to know exactly how much weight is on that airplane."

In addition to passengers and their bags, the weight of items such as the cutlery, pillows and catering equipment the airline carried would also be surveyed, he said.

"All of those things are pretty important to ensure that safety comes first."

Foran said he had, by chance, participated in one of Air New Zealand's domestic weight surveys about three years ago.

"Now the time has come around to do the international one, so [it's] a pretty seamless and fast experience."

Knowing exactly how much an aeroplane and its contents weighed was important to help calculate how much fuel each flight needed, he said.

"Safety is paramount to us as an airline, we want to ensure that everyone gets to where they need to every single day."

Recognition both at home and abroad 'humbling'

Foran said Air New Zealand's recognition with two high-profile awards was humbling for the airline and its staff.

In addition to being named Airline of the Year by AirlineRatings.com it has also been named the most attractive employer in New Zealand by HR and recruitment company Randstad.

Foran said it was nice to see the airline's "hard mahi" recognised through the Airline of the Year award, which was decided by a group of international judges.

"We're pretty humbled about this, but I am pleased for the team."

In addition to safety and passenger reviews, innovations such as the Skynest, which Foran said would be available on the first of Air New Zealand's new Boeing 787-9 planes - expected late next year - were also taken into account.

The recognition encouraged customers to fly the airline and gave it a "good standing overseas", he added.

On the home front, it was "fantastic" to be named country's most attractive employer once more, Foran said.

"We haven't won it in the last three years because actually, we were ineligible to win it - so it's just nice to have that back."

He said the airline had recruited "over 2000 more staff" over the last year. as the world began to open up again following pandemic restrictions

"We're thrilled to have them back."

The Randstad award assessed things such as the sorts of jobs the airline was offering, what kind of remuneration it offered, and the financial health and reputation of the business, he said.

"We're humbled by it; we'll reflect on it today and then we'll roll our sleeves up and get straight back into doing a lot of things that we need to do."

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