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Current as of 26/12/14 05:20AM NZST

Air NZ needs better plans, says critic

By Grant Bradley, Nikki Papatsoumas

An Air NZ jet on final approach moments before aborting an attempted landing on the fog-bound runway. Photo / Mark Mitchell
An Air NZ jet on final approach moments before aborting an attempted landing on the fog-bound runway. Photo / Mark Mitchell

An Air New Zealand passenger who was left stranded in Hawaii last week says he is surprised the airline hasn't made more recommendations, after an investigation into the incident.

The Boeing 767's pilots aborted takeoff on July 27 left 227 passengers stranded in Honolulu for up to 56 hours.

An investigation by the national carrier has found the root cause of the disruption was an engineering issue which had previously been identified as a faulty warning light on a Boeing 767.

The airline was also continuing another inquiry into claims that pilots and cabin crew in Honolulu had been drinking and would not have been available for duty at one point, even if the aircraft had been airworthy.

Following the initial investigation into the stranding, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline would invest in a new communication system to provide better contact with affected passengers.

Passenger Philip Wardale said that should be paramount, and the most logical was a basic texting solution.

The airline also said it would set up a team with specialist knowledge, which could be dispatched at short notice to affected locations to assist local teams.

"I don't know when the decision would be made, in our instance, to fly that team in," Mr Wardale said.

He also wanted better procedures between the airline and the engineering department, and said Air New Zealand should have considered flying in a replacement plane or transferred passengers to another airline.

Air New Zealand also said it would improve training for "disruption management" for all international airport management teams.

"I want to apologise again for the way our management of this situation let you down. While engineering disruptions are unfortunately a fact of life from time to time in the aviation industry, the situation should have been better managed on many levels and some valuable lessons have been learned," Mr Luxon said yesterday in a letter to passengers.

Hoped customers saw the actions outlined as an indication of how seriously the airline took the incident.

Compensation of $1000 was offered to each passenger for the disruption. additional reporting by Susan Strongman

- NZ Herald

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