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Mike's Minute: Air NZ need to sort their priorities

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Nov 2023, 11:05AM

Mike's Minute: Air NZ need to sort their priorities

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Nov 2023, 11:05AM

For the record, I am a fan of Air New Zealand. 

Mainly because we own it, it's our national airline and, overall, it's been fantastically successful. If you're balanced there isn't a lot of reason to be as angry towards it as so many people are. 

But on the same day the CEO came on this show to break the news they have engine troubles that will affect thousands over the next two years, he then attends a tourism summit and talks about supersonic and hypersonic travel. 

In that, is a messaging problem. 

Air New Zealand gets a lot of free publicity mainly because aviation is a fascinating area. As New Zealanders we like to travel and a lot of journalists get freebies and that’s free PR. 

Small note by the way - to those in the media who do reviews of trips that involve business class travel, of which I have read two lately - it's OK to be thrilled given you have never been in business class before. But that’s not really a review and good reviews make comparisons and you can't compare things that you haven't experienced. So it sounds more breathless freebie than actual journalism. 

Anyway, this past week we have had coverage of Air New Zealand's Koru Club changes, re-useable cups and their new uniform. Ms Wickstead of royal connection is doing the honours. 

All of that is fantastic, as long as you can catch a plane, afford a ticket and get through an airport in good order. All of those are now issues or have been for some time. 

So, in other words, co-ordinate that messaging. Stop banging on about sustainability and cups and uniforms when you are inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of punters who are paying through the nose for what many regard as average product. 

Stop fantasising about flying to London in four hours when you're offering ATR's between main centres. 

What Covid has taught us is aviation is fragile. It has massive engineering issues, capacity issues, service issues and labour issues. 

Airports are OK at best, with the odd one actually what you would call first world. In other words, for all the hype and romance of the rhetoric, when push comes to shove it hasn’t advanced all that much in decades, with the exception of longer haul, point-to-point services. 

Get some engines that work, get jets on main trunk routes, drop prices, increase competition and work out the airport experience. 

Be as climate friendly as you want but until then, let's leave the hypersonic to the Jetsons, because it was as real then as it is now. 

Which is to say, not very.   

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