Air Transport World magazine is one of the leading aviation publications globally and has been running its annual awards for more than 30 years. The awards are coveted by airlines with the Passenger Service Award one of the most valued, recognising an airline that has been "innovative and consistently superior in providing outstanding quality passenger service at a fair price".

In announcing the award, Air Transport World Editorial Director and Associate Publisher Perry Flint cited Air New Zealand staff and ongoing product development as critical elements to its success.

"Air New Zealand's customer service staff are known for their warmth and cheeriness and they are empowered to go the extra mile for their passengers.

"Add to this the airline's new suite of offerings in business class, premium economy and economy and you have a combination that is winning business everywhere Air New Zealand flies."

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe says the award is justified recognition for the hard work Air New Zealand staff have put in the over the last few years.

"In 2005 the ATW recognized us with the Phoenix Award for our turn-around success. At the time we said we intended to offer the most complete, innovative and uniquely Kiwi experience possible in an effort to exceed customer expectations on every flight.

"To now be judged as having the finest service in the world reflects extremely well on the continual efforts made by the business to be the best. That intention has become a reality and our 10,975 staff should be extremely proud of that fact.

"This award comes in addition to a number of satisfying results recently including topping the Star Alliance for having the best Business Class offering amongst the alliance carriers."

In announcing the Passenger Service Award, Air Transport World congratulated Air New Zealand on the success of its ongoing product development programme.

"Air New Zealand's new international long haul premium products have resulted in a dramatic swing in load factor in the premium classes from 66% in 2006 to more than 80% in October 2007.

"Air New Zealand is implementing a revolution in its short-haul product and is working to remove up to 40% of the normal "travel" time by introducing technologies such as reusable bag tags and boarding passes sent electronically to passengers' mobile phones.

"Air New Zealand has become the carrier of first choice almost everywhere it operates. Its focus on relationships with staff and pursuit of the best value-for-money inflight product mark it as a standout in passenger service."

Mr Fyfe says the award comes just as the airline is on the verge of launching a range of initiatives both domestically and internationally that will further enhance customer service levels.

"The introduction of the inflight concierge on our long-haul international services, significant changes to our domestic offering and the introduction of personal digital inflight entertainment systems on our A320 and 767 fleets will all add significantly to the customer experience in the coming year."

From April, up to 90 concierge staff will fly on Air New Zealand's long haul services and act as a combination of travel advisers, disrupt managers and destinational experts to help make passengers' experience even more memorable.

Domestically, the airline is introducing greater seat pitch in the front half of its 737 aircraft for its frequent flyers, improving inflight service, introducing a range of technologies to speed up the check-in and boarding process and investing in its frequent flyer offerings such as lounges and valet.

Its fleet of A320 aircraft will also have a similar zone of increased seat pitch and together with the 767 fleet will have individual seat-back digital entertainment fitted later this year.

Ends

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs

For more information:

Tracey Palmer
Corporate Communications Manager
Air New Zealand
Tel 09 336 3179
021 628 129
Email tracey.palmer@airnz.co.nz

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.