Christopher Luxon has announced his plans to quit Air New Zealand at a time the airline is at the crossroads, leaving his options wide open and no obvious successor.

After years of building to super profits - the airline hit its biggest surplus in its history two years ago - it is now facing headwinds. Like most at the top, hearing bad news is less fun than dealing with good news and Luxon likes the latter.

He took over as Air New Zealand's chief executive in 2013 after two years working as its international head. Within the airline his