A family whose mother was killed in the Erebus crash say they would have strongly objected to Air New Zealand's "gross and crass" plans to film a safety video in Antarctica if the airline had contacted them.

David Ling said Air New Zealand's plans to set a safety video in Antarctica were "crass, arrogant and disrespectful" to the 257 who died in the Mt Erebus disaster in November 1979.

It was also insensitive to the immediate families left behind and should be stopped, he said.

Air New Zealand has defended the location of its latest in-flight safety video, saying it had received "very positive" responses from the families of the Erebus victims after emailing them about it. The airline had contacted all the families on its database and apologised if anyone had been missed out.


But neither Ling or his sister Sue Miles said they were contacted about the video, and Ling questioned how many of the families had actually received the email.

Their mother Alison Ling was 60 when she died in the crash.

The first they learned about the video was after an article was published by the Herald on Sunday.

"For many of us flying with Air New Zealand can be a very difficult reminder of the past and how this changed our lives. To be on board and confronted by a safety video you're obliged to watch set in Antarctica is beyond ironic. It is the ultimate insensitive insult to the families, both immediate and wider," Ling said.

"How they could possibly think that this is a good idea - mixing some sort of PR story with a safety video, set in the area where they lost so many lives - is beyond us. In its cruellest moments even Monty Python couldn't have scripted such a gross idea as this."

Air New Zealand's plans to set a safety video set in Antarctica were
Air New Zealand's plans to set a safety video set in Antarctica were "crass, arrogant and disrespectful" to the 257 who died in the Mt Erebus disaster in 1979, say relatives.

Miles said she was likely to be on Air New Zealand domestic flights in March when the safety video was due to be played and was unsure how she would manage watching it.

"I am angry and distressed. I don't want them to show it. I know my daughters feel very angry at the insensitivity of actually putting this up as a safety video which has been filmed in the bit of Antarctic where they actually managed to kill 257 people."

The video was filmed as part of Air New Zealand's partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Research Institute.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman Brigitte Ransom said the company did not appear to have contact details for Ling's family and apologised if they had been removed from the database.

"It was important to us that immediate family members of those lost on Mt Erebus were among the first to be told about the filming project in Antarctica and we have reached out to family members registered in our database directly to share details of our upcoming safety video and the rationale behind this."

Ransom said most feedback received from a number of immediate family members had "been very positive about the project and appreciative of our efforts to keep them informed".

The airline also provided the Herald with three statements from unnamed family members who supported the research in Antarctica and had no issue with it.

In an earlier email sent to family members, the airline acknowledged the "sensitivities" filming in Antarctica and said it had approached filming in a very respectful way".