Former Air New Zealand manager Carrie Hurihanganui is returning to the airline, joining the executive team as chief ground operations officer.

Most recently she has been at the National Australia Bank as executive general manager, customer experience.

She will join the airline's 10-member executive team toward the end of next month ahead of the departure of chief operations officer Bruce Parton.

The structure of the operations function is being split into two parts – one focused on ground operations to be led by Hurihanganui and the other focused on air operations led by chief air operations and people safety officer John Whittaker.


Hurihanganui joined NAB last year after 18 years with Air New Zealand. She began her career as a flight attendant in 1999 while she studied for her Bachelor of Business Management degree.

Other senior operational and corporate roles she has had include international cabin crew manager, Auckland domestic airport manager, general manager of Eagle Air and general manager of offshore airports.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said Hurihanganui would bring fresh perspectives.

"Carrie is well known for her positive energy, outstanding leadership, collaborative style, deep operational knowledge and customer orientation,'' he said.

''I'm confident she will strike a good balance between what needs to be preserved and enhanced in ground operations, with the courage to drive the change needed to keep us relevant and competitive."

Parton will leave in September after a 22-year career at the airline.