In presenting the award, Airbus Executive Vice President, Patrick Gavin paid tribute to Air New Zealand's operational and maintenance integrity and the successful introduction of the A320 aircraft into its fleet.

"Air New Zealand is now recognised as both a significant Airbus operator and the most significant ETOPS operator in the total fleet of Airbus single aisle aircraft," said Mr Gavin.

Air New Zealand has progressively introduced the A320 into its fleet with nine of the 15 acquired aircraft delivered since September 2003. During this time these aircraft have collectively accumulated over 36,000 flight hours on ETOPS flights.

"ETOPS certification recognises the capability of the twin-engine aircraft to fly safely for an extended time in order to reach an alternate airport in the event of one engine failure," explains Captain David Morgan, Air New Zealand General Manager Operation Standards & Safety.

"Serving a relatively geographically isolated island nation, Air New Zealand has to operate extensive routes over water to its international destinations. This necessitates the airline having extended –range capability for its twin –engine aircraft to ensure a safe and reliable service.

Air New Zealand had used twin –engine aircraft since the late 70's but while planning the introduction of the B767 aircraft for use on longer international routes the airline recognised the significance of ETOPS certification. Air New Zealand then worked closely with Boeing and Aviation Authorities (FAA & CAANZ) to evolve ETOPS standards prior to the delivery of the airline's first B767 in the mid –1980s.

Air New Zealand initially received certification for 120 minutes and later for 180 minutes to support the airline's first long-haul Pacific services.

The ETOPS Recognition Award is the second public endorsement of its maintenance integrity Air New Zealand has received from Airbus this year.

In March, Airbus announced that Air New Zealand Engineering Services (ANZES) was one of the eleven leading MRO companies in the Airbus network selected to become a member of the Airbus Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Network recently deployed by Airbus to ensure optimum MRO support for Airbus customers worldwide.

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.