Around 1,000 family members, friends and Air New Zealanders today gathered at Auckland Airport to welcome home four of the New Zealanders lost in the A320 accident in France.
A short private ceremony, led by Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe, was held at an Air New Zealand hangar after flight NZ38 landed in Auckland at 11am today (NZ time).
New Zealand music icon Dave Dobbyn performed his song Welcome Home as the coffins of the four New Zealanders, draped in the New Zealand flag and floral bouquets, were carried from the Boeing 747-400.
Mr Fyfe paid tribute to the four men, Captain Brian Horrell, Noel Marsh, Michael Gyles and Jeremy Cook, and missing colleague Murray White. He passed on condolences from Prime Minister John Key and the Civil Aviation Authority before members of the Air New Zealand kapa haka group paid a special tribute on behalf of the airline.
Families then carried their loved ones to hearses for their final journeys to their resting places.
Mr Fyfe said the men who returned today were respected aviation experts at the top of their game, who gave their lives ensuring the safety of the travelling public.
"We mourn their loss and our hearts go out to the family of Murray White, who remains missing. I know all New Zealanders will join us in expressing their deepest sympathies to those who have lost fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, friends and colleagues as they make their final journey today."
Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs, phone 09 336 2761
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