Air NZ CEO saying role is 'a privilege' was 'disgraceful' after redundancies, says Mark Richardson

  • 05/02/2021

The AM Show co-host Mark Richardson on Friday condemned Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran's comments from earlier in the week as "disgraceful".

The former cricketer was referring to an interview co-host Duncan Garner conducted with Foran reviewing his first year in the role as the airline's CEO, during which several thousand employees were made redundant.

"What I can tell you is that it's been a real privilege," Foran said on The AM Show on Wednesday.

"As I reflect back, what a privilege it's been to be able to come back to New Zealand after 25 years and to have this opportunity to work in what I think is one of the great brands in the world."

Foran replaced former Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the travel industry.

"The CEO of Air NZ Greg Foran talking about 'it's been a privilege' to basically sack 80 percent of his company. I'm sorry, it was an entitled and, I thought, disingenuous comment, to tell you the truth," said Richardson on Friday.

"It's the sort of thing your PR person tells you to use. They didn't mean use it at every opportunity when you're talking about sacking people," added Garner.

Richardson continued: "Why do pilots become pilots? Because they want to fly planes. Why do flight attendants become flight attendants? Because it's a lifestyle job. There's a gross majority of them sitting there listening to him say 'it's been a privilege' - I thought it was disgraceful."

As the pandemic impacted its business in 2020, Air NZ received a $900 million loan from the Government, which owns 52 percent of the company.

On The AM Show, Foran said without that loan the airline "wouldn't have the cash to operate".