The airline has contracted a UK based company, CTC Aviation to provide training to both new recruits and Flight Service Managers.

"CTC specialises in aircrew training and their instructors are qualified in Crew Resource Management, a qualification approved by the UK Civil Aviation authority," said Ed Sims, Group General Manager International Airline.

"The delivery of high standards of customer service is key to the success of Air New Zealand and our crew receive sound training in a number of fields.

Our relationship with CTC will enable us to have our London-based crew trained locally which is more efficient than using our training staff from Auckland and will reduce the costs of introducing the new service," he said.

Demand for travel between the United Kingdom and New Zealand has grown significantly since Air New Zealand first launched a daily service in 1998.

"Over this time we have invested heavily to promote New Zealand as a destination, and this year, we will be increasing our current advertising and promotional spend by 50 percent in the United Kingdom and Europe markets to ensure we drive further growth," said Mr Sims.

"The additional capacity will leave us better placed to take advantage of the demand we have created, especially during peak seasons when our flights are 90 to 100 percent full. More excitingly, we can stimulate new demand with higher frequency and new routing options, including the world's only current round-the-world service on one airline.

"We will also be the only Star Alliance carrier to operate between Hong Kong and London, which is fantastic news for our Star partners and customers," said Mr Sims.

Air New Zealand will operate the Auckland - Hong Kong - London route utilising its refurbished Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The 393-seat aircraft includes 46 lie-flat Business Premier seats, 23 Pacific Premium Economy seats and 324 seats in Pacific Economy.

ENDS

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs: ph +64 336 2761

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.