Air New Zealand General Manager Airline Operations and Safety Captain David Morgan said planning was well underway for the Air New Zealand Aviation Academy.

Captain Morgan, who is also Air New Zealand's Chief Pilot, said the academy was being set up to ensure the steady flow of local talent into Air New Zealand and other airlines within the Asia Pacific region.

In the highly competitive aviation industry, Captain Morgan said it was important to ensure that Air New Zealand had the best people available to support its future growth plans.

"The academy will form the basis of Air New Zealand's long-term commitment to continuing to build a world-leading airline through a highly skilled and motivated workforce which sees real career prospects and a future in New Zealand."

"We already operate a very successful training school offering engineering, tourism and travel programmes. This is an opportunity for us to build on that and create in New Zealand an internationally-recognised and accredited aviation academy that will meet the future needs of Air New Zealand and other airline operators in our region," he says.

"It will also provide opportunities and career structure for our people, and help them define and manage their career paths within the aviation business."

As well as providing training for those starting out, Captain Morgan said the academy would provide support and training for staff moving through their careers, including aircraft type rating and simulator training.

Air New Zealand's goal was to establish the academy in partnership with industry, offering people the ability to train at different locations around the country.

This would also provide additional economic benefits to New Zealand regions, Captain Morgan said.

Air New Zealand expected to be able to put around 200-300 pilots and engineers each year through the curriculum that it would develop.

Captain Morgan said New Zealand-trained pilots, cabin crew and engineers were held in high regard internationally for their expertise, professionalism and attitude.

"We expect the Air New Zealand Aviation Academy to further build on and enhance the New Zealand aviation industry's excellent international reputation."

Air New Zealand is currently in discussion with a range of potential partners and expects to announce more details about the academy over the coming year.

ENDS

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs Phone 09 336 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.