Air New Zealand General Manager International Airline Ed Sims says that mediation with FARSA, the union representing 1000 long haul cabin crew, ended today, without agreement or the withdrawal of the notice to strike on three separate occasions of 48 hours commencing July 18, 21 and 24.

"We have a responsibility to our customers to finalise rosters, aircraft schedules and a range of logistics. In this case, we have been left with no option but to implement a contingency plan that will see the travel arrangements of around 14,000 New Zealand and overseas customers affected," Mr Sims said.

"Over the past week we have had a team dedicated to exploring all the options for minimising disruption to customers' travel. Their efforts have allowed us to come up with a solution that will see around 70 percent of long haul flights operate over the six days of the proposed strike, with no impact on domestic services."

Mr Sims says that on average between 15 and 20 international flights a day will be cancelled due to the strike.

All direct services between New Zealand and Los Angeles, San Francisco and London are scheduled to operate on the proposed strike days. However, some services operating via the Pacific Islands to Los Angeles will be affected.

On the Tasman and Pacific Island routes, all A320 services will operate as scheduled. However, some Boeing 747 and 767 services to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth will be affected.

Services to Asian destinations, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Nagoya and Kansai are likely to be most affected by the proposed strikes. The airline will maintain a daily service to Narita, Tokyo.

Air New Zealand and FARSA have been negotiating for three months, and in the past week have undertaken two days of mediation.

"Whilst we have negotiated with FARSA in good faith, we are still some way apart in terms of reaching agreement," Mr Sims says.

Areas where Air New Zealand and FARSA have been unable to reach agreement include pay, meal allowances and annual leave entitlements. The cost of FARSA's formal claim is $14.2 million over three years.

"Simply, we cannot bear that cost in a business that is doing its best to rebuild and compete in an industry, still facing huge challenges and spiralling fuel costs."

They can direct queries to their original booking agent or the Air New Zealand reservations centre after 9am 14 July 05 (NZT) on the numbers below:

New Zealand 0800 737 000
Australia 13 24 76
Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba 03 5521 2727
Rest of Japan 0120 300 747
Hong Kong 852 2862 8988
Singapore 65 6535 8266
Taiwan 02 2567 8950
USA 1 800 262 1234
Canada 800 663 5494
United Kingdom 0800 028 4149
Cook Islands 682 26 300
Fiji 679 331 3100
Samoa 685 20 825
Tahiti 689 540 747

Ends

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.