Notable corporate apologies ... and one that failed

BP chief Tony Hayward's comment that he wanted his life back went down like a lead submersible. Photo / Bloomberg
BP chief Tony Hayward's comment that he wanted his life back went down like a lead submersible. Photo / Bloomberg

Air NZ and Mt Erebus
On November 28, 1979, Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed into Antarctica's Mt Erebus, killing 257 people.

In October 2009, near 30 years later, the airline's chief executive Rob Fyfe apologised to those affected, who "did not receive the compassion and support they should have from Air New Zealand".

Family members described the apology as "incredible." Said one: "For me, that's healed a lot of resentment."

Fyfe had nothing to do with the accident, but acknowledged the airline had made mistakes and let down the families left behind.

Paul Reynolds reconnects
After the launch of its XT network in 2009, Telecom suffered major outages throughout New Zealand.

"I apologise to our customers who have been inconvenienced, but also recognise that words are not enough.

That's why we are taking rapid action and I am determined to be up front and open on this," said chief executive Paul Reynolds.

A later report said the network was not ready to manage the volume of traffic it experienced. Customers were compensated to the tune of $15 million.

JetBlue goes YouTube
In February 2007, snowstorms stranded several JetBlue aircraft on the tarmac at New York City's JFK airport. Some passengers were grounded for as long as 11 hours. Understandably, they were not amused.

Within days chief executive David Neeleman posted an explanation on YouTube which has since been viewed more than 400,000 times.

In a letter to JetBlue frequent flyers, Neeleman wrote: "We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry."

The worst: BP in Deep Water
In April 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and set off a leak which spilled an estimated 780 million litres of crude oil into the sea.

"I'm sorry. We're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused their lives. There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I'd like my life back," Tony Hayward, then CEO of BP Oil, said in May.

The next day on Facebook, he apologised again - for his apology. "I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that 'I wanted my life back'. When I read that recently, I was appalled," he said.

- NZ Herald

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