Managing Director and Chief Executive Ralph Norris says he is pleased that the Employment Court has recognised Air New Zealand's absolute and paramount commitment to customer, employee and public safety.

"The Employment Court ruling is a positive step forward in assisting us to ensure that we continue to operate the safest airline possible. We will spend the next few days examining the Court's decision in detail and will determine what the decision means for Air New Zealand before further steps are taken."

Mr Norris says Air New Zealand's zero tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol in the workplace, and the surrounding drug and alcohol procedures, is reasonable and totally appropriate in the environment the airline operates in.

"Our policy is based on a drug and alcohol free workplace and involves, as a package - education and awareness, assistance for employees with problems, rehabilitation, and when required, drug and alcohol testing."

Mr Norris says it is important to note that drug and alcohol testing is commonplace in safety sensitive industries throughout New Zealand and around the developed world. For airlines in some countries, including the United States, it is mandatory.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.