Air New Zealand expects to appoint Tony Carter to replace long-serving John Palmer as its chairman as the New Zealand government reportedly considers reducing its 73 per cent stake in the airline.
Carter will formally replace Palmer, who played a pivotal role together with former CEO Rob Fyfe to turn the airline’s fortunes around, at the company’s annual general meeting in September. The news of Carter’s appointment had an immediate positive effect for Air New Zealand shares, which reached a five-year high.
The potential sell-down of the government’s share in the airline comes as broader consideration is given to similar strategies with utility company’s the government has interest in. It is expected, however, that if a sell-down does occur the government will retain its controlling interest.
Meanwhile Air New Zealand awaits a decision from competition regulators on its proposed extension of the trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia, a positive outcome made more likely following the New Zealand government’s approval of cooperation between Qantas and Emirates on routes between Australia and New Zealand.