Group General Manager International Airline Ed Sims says the past 12 hours have seen many developments in France.

"It has been an extremely moving day for the next of kin who have travelled to France and our own people on site. Our lost men were remembered in a ceremony on the beach at Perpignan before the families went on boats to the site of the accident to pay their respects. Obviously, it was an extremely moving time for everyone and many tears and much emotion was shared. In a uniquely Air New Zealand tribute to the lost men, the airline's own haka was performed at the accident site by our Cultural Ambassador Andrew Baker," Mr Sims says.

"Also during the day divers have located the cockpit and found a body nearby. The flight data recorder was also retrieved and it is now clear both it and the cockpit voice recorder have been badly damaged. These will be sent to manufacturer Honeywell in North America to determine what data can be extracted."

Mr Sims says French authorities have made it clear that they intend to continue the search and recovery operation until all bodies are found.

"We cannot speak highly enough of the French authorities and the efforts they are putting into this operation. Although it is now night time in France, divers continue their search and despite a deteriorating forecast will continue to do so over the next few days."


Ends

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs

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.