Quirky News: Air NZ’s Drink-Driving Problem?

In this edition of quirky news, it’s bad enough for an airline when one its pilot gets arrested for being drunk. But it’s really bad when a police superintendent says an airline has an underlying alcohol problem, as Air New Zealand has been accused of.

From January to May 2008, according to recently released documents, four Air NZ employees were arrested for drink-driving. Fairfax New Zealand reports:


One was a pilot [not on his way to work], who had been charged with excess breath alcohol onthree previous occasions. A mechanic on his way to work was 2-1/2 halftimes the legal limit.

A flight attendant, on the way to work, and dressed in full Air NZ uniform, was also over the limit and was later fired

TV3 said the OIA documents showed others had been caught, but AirNZ bosses did not know who they were, because they weren’t caught onthe way to work or in uniform and identifiable.

They are a mechanic with three breath alcohol convictions in four years, another pilot and an aircraft engineer.

Air NZ’s response?


Mr Fyfe said the four cases mentioned in the year to May 2008indicated an incident rate of 0.03 percent over the airline’s 12,000employees compared with a rate of 1 percent over the New Zealandpopulation at large.

“This suggests to me that, rather than a drink-driveproblem at Air NZ, the available facts suggest that the application ofthe drug and alcohol policies that are in force…have led to animprovement in the drink drive culture as compared to that which isevident across the New Zealand population at large.”

Summary: enjoy your trip on Air NZ’s new seats, but perhaps it’s best you never the airport.



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