EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (December 13, 2007) - Air New Zealand is revolutionizing the long-haul customer travel experience with the introduction of an in-flight International Airline Concierge service - a first in the aviation industry. The new service launches in April on its Auckland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Hong Kong routes.

"Air New Zealand will employ up to 90 concierge staff, who will be dedicated to making every customer journey before, during and after an Air New Zealand service a special event," said Ed Sims, Air New Zealand group general manager international airline. "There is no other airline in the world offering such a service, giving Air New Zealand a significant edge over its international competitors."

The new International Airline Concierge service will offer a combination of travel advisers, disrupt managers, loyalty and destination experts who focus on supporting every customers travel needs. Concierge service staff duties may include escorting passengers to and from the aircraft, recommending "must-do" Kiwi activities to tourists, assisting customers with onward bookings, supporting customers affected by a weather disruption, advising passengers on managing their Airpoints, or talking through the finer points of customers’ in-flight wine selections.

"With this new move, Air New Zealand leads the world in in-flight service," said Damien O'Connor, Tourism Minister. "The service enhances the value of a New Zealand holiday experience for visitors and the tourism industry."

The international recognition of Air New Zealand’s world-class long-haul product has grown over the past two years. The growth prompts the number of customers choosing the airline for services to, from and within New Zealand. The new concierge service enables the airline to continue to provide excellent customer service despite increased capacity challenges.

"Every one travelling with us - no matter how full the aircraft - receives the personal attention they deserve and the advice they need," adds Sims. "We’re dedicated to finding new ways to deliver our customers with a uniquely Kiwi experience at every stage of their journey, and the best way to do that is through our people. Air New Zealanders are our competitive advantage."

The concierge initiative developed from Air New Zealand cabin crew and customer feedback captured over the past two years. The initiative is a natural complement to the airline’s award-winning long-haul product and service. Concierge staff will serve as New Zealand ambassadors, as well as experts in the regions to which they fly.

Recruitment for International Airline Concierge members begins 13 December and the airline expects to attract talent from various service and hospitality industries as well as the tourism sector. The majority of positions will be New Zealand based, although a small number of staff will operate from Shanghai and London.

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand offers more direct flights to the South Pacific than any other airline, including non-stop flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Vancouver to New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles non-stop to Fiji, the Cook Islands and Samoa. Other popular destinations include Australia, China, Japan and Tonga. In addition to flying non-stop Los Angeles-London, Air New Zealand’s route between London and Hong Kong now allows customers to fly round-the-world on one airline. Consistently rated among the world’s best international airlines, Air New Zealand’s most recent accolades include recognition by the Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards and Business Traveler Magazine. United Mileage Plus, US Airways Dividend Miles and Air Canada’s Aeroplan members earn and redeem mileage on select flights. Flight and vacation essentials can be booked on AirNewZealand.com or by calling 1-800-262-1234 in the USA and 1-800-663-5494 in Canada. Air New Zealand is a member of the Star Alliance network.