Eric Hertz's colleagues are shocked and saddened by the loss of the "honorary Kiwi''.
Director of corporate affairs at 2degrees, Mat Bolland, said staff are struggling to come to terms with the loss of the company's chief executive.
"I think it's fair to say that the people at 2degrees are in shock. The fact that we won't see him back, or Kathy, is quite stunning.
"We're going to miss Eric's leadership, friendship and dry sense of humour. He was our `honorary Kiwi' and greatly respected by our 760 staff.''
Mr Bolland talked about his plans for the long weekend during a management meeting on Thursday "and yet again Eric probably had a more exciting weekend planned than many of us.
"We know that there's been a terrible accident, and we don't know the cause.''
The board and a management team are working on a plan to ensure the company continues.
However, the company's focus was on providing support to the couple's daughter, keeping their family in the US informed of the progress of recovery, and assisting police, Mr Bolland said.
Mr Hertz was an ``avid'' aviator with 10 years' experience, who was qualified to fly on instruments alone, and and owned two planes.
"Not a beginner, and very meticulous about his flying.''
He and his wife called New Zealand home, said Mr Bollard.
"They recently gained residency and, through flying, got to see more of New Zealand than many of us will ever see.''
Mr Hertz joined 2degrees in 2009, after leading mobile app company `Zumobi' in the US and with a extensive telecommunications career spanning more than 30 years and six countries.
His leadership resulted in the rapid growth of the company, and he would "always greet you with a smile while constantly encouraging you to do things differently and delight customers'', said Mr Bolland.
Mrs Hertz provided support to Maori and Pacific students at Auckland University of Technology and was an advisor at 2degrees as part of a programme for young Maori.