An Air New Zealand safety video featuring Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models is in the process of being withdrawn, the airline says.

The "Safety in Paradise" video, which featured bikini-clad models in Rarotonga, will be phased out completely by the end of this weekend.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline typically changed safety videos every few months, and said the video was not being removed because of public pressure.

The process of phasing in the previously recorded "Bear Essentials of Safety" video featuring Bear Grylls began on their fleet about a week ago, and the process is almost complete, she said.


Air New Zealand video stirred up controversy after more than 6,000 people signed an online petition asking for the video to be removed.

The petitioner said the safety video "completely disregarded" those passengers who found it offensive.

Feminist commentator and Labour candidate for Rangitikei Deborah Russell, also voiced her disappointment.