Paul Henry bashes Air New Zealand for 'behaving in an entirely entitled manner'

  • 11/05/2022

Paul Henry is calling on Air New Zealand to up its game after writing a scathing critique of the national carrier, saying he's no longer a loyal customer.

He was interviewed about a column he wrote for the NZ Herald by AM host Melissa Chan-Green on Wednesday morning after the article was published on Tuesday.

Henry's column called for Air New Zealand to replace its chief executive and chair and called for Kiwis to make no excuses for the national carrier.

"All I really want is for the chair and the CEO to acknowledge that they have dropped the ball, they are dropping many balls and to apologise to their owners - you and me," Henry told AM.

"I mean, how did they not predict that this was what was going to happen in the world? How did they not predict that after being tied down for two years, New Zealanders might want to ring them, might want to book a seat to go to another country?

"Here's the thing with Air New Zealand, I haven't got it in for them - I've been a huge supporter of Air New Zealand over the years but they're not a normal airline. They're a national carrier - they're our national carrier."

Henry added the airline had extra obligations to New Zealanders as the country's national carrier.

He said, for the past two years, he had paid the very highest prices for minimal service.

"They are behaving in an entirely entitled manner," he said. "In the piece that I wrote, I was talking about the difference between business and good business. Good business, when things go badly, is looking after core assets… and that's travellers like me, and I have not been looked after."

Air New Zealand has been contacted for a response to Henry's comments.

Chan-Green questioned Henry on whether perhaps the airline didn't have enough guidance from the Government on when New Zealand's borders could reopen.

"They have had that," responded Henry. "But they're running a business. 

"You know as well as I do - this is entirely what our Government was going to do. They were going to stick their head in the sand and wait until the second coming before they respond to COVID like the rest of the world does - and what I'm talking about is responding to the end of COVID."

Henry acknowledged the hardships faced by Air New Zealand during the pandemic but said it can't meet the demand now Kiwis were desperate to fly.

"You try and book a flight now to Australia or, more importantly, you try and get a flight to the United States in June or July… after waiting all this time, how could they not have enough seats for us?"

Henry's comments come ahead of a pre-Budget announcement on Wednesday where the Government is tipped to announce a full border reopening date.