World reacts to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's NZDF plane drama

  • 05/03/2024

World media has picked up on Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's Tuesday morning plane troubles.   

Luxon's trip to Australia hit a rocky start after the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Boeing 757 jet he was due to fly on was grounded due to a maintenance fault.   

International outlet Reuters picked up on the story, writing "Luxon's flight was scheduled to take off from the national capital Wellington on Tuesday morning but a pre-flight maintenance check on the aircraft found a major electrical fault".

Sky News Australia reported that Luxon "will be flying Air New Zealand instead, the airline he was the chief executive of for seven years".

Australia's Newcastle Herald reported "NZ Defence Force plane lets down PM Luxon".

They quoted Finance Minister Nicola Willis as saying, "it's not ideal".

They also quoted Defence Minister Judith Collins, who said the NZDF does "an enormously good job with very, very old kit".  

"Essentially you're talking about classic cars, but it's planes," she said.  

"It's an engineering issue ... it's embarrassing, it's difficult. But every time we this happens we talk about the need for alternatives and every time we look at it it's so expensive and frankly we're in a cost of living crisis."  

BNN Breaking, a world news site that calls itself 'The People's Network', said that Luxon making the effort to fly commercially, despite the interruption, "emphasizes his dedication to enhancing New Zealand's international relations and trade prospects... showcasing New Zealand's keen interest in deepening ties with Southeast Asian nations".  

The Print reported that "a technical snag hit his military aircraft," forcing him to fly commercially. 

The outlet added "New Zealand’s defence force uses two Boeing 757-200s received in 2003 to carry the country’s leaders. The aircraft have become unreliable in recent years, with maintenance issues stranding its leaders abroad or delaying official trips on several occasions".  

The Jamaica Observer reported that Luxon "flies commercial to Australia after Air Force plane malfunctions" and referenced that this was not the first time there had been issues.  

"A back-up Boeing 757 was used for a trip to China last year in case of a break down when then-prime minister Chris Hipkins led a delegation to Beijing. As leader of the opposition at the time, Luxon had criticised the move," the Jamaica Observer wrote.