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Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air NZ plans staff 'evolution'

Christopher Luxon. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Christopher Luxon. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Air New Zealand has reaffirmed its focus on Asia Pacific as it restructures its upper management before new chief Christopher Luxon takes over.

Outgoing chief executive Rob Fyfe told staff in a newsletter a unified commercial and operations structure was replacing the existing Australasian and international divisions.

"Many of you will be familiar with this type of structure previously and I'm confident it will be a very effective structure as we move to further bias our aircraft assets and growth aspirations into the Asia and Pacific market," Fyfe said.

As part of the shakeup the position of group general manager Australasia held by Bruce Parton will go.

Parton was once seen as a possible successor to Fyfe, who said: "He will be pursuing new roles in this new structure, and we will be working through the options with him."

Luxon begins on January 1, as does the new executive structure.

Four roles - including those held by chief financial officer Rob McDonald and flight operations chief and safety officer Dave Morgan - won't change, but there will be a single sales and revenue accountability position under the chief commercial officer, and a single operations accountability position under the chief operations officer, two new roles.

A chief people officer is also being sought and a global search will begin to assess both external and internal candidates for the three new roles.

Some appointments are expected before Christmas.

Three long-serving executives have announced they are quitting - human resources head Vanessa Stoddart, operations manager Glen Sowry and deputy chief executive Norm Thompson.

Luxon said the benefits of having single accountable chief operations and chief commercial officers were clear. "By working even more closely together we increase our ability to leverage our scale, replicate our best practice, deliver our uniquely Kiwi message and service ethos in a more seamless and integrated manner."

The former Unilever executive said the new structure signalled another step to functioning as one airline. He planned over the coming months to share his strategies and philosophies, which would guide the airline for the next five years.

"It would be fair to say that we are on a process of evolution rather than revolution," he said.

- NZ Herald

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