Air New Zealand has issued an unreserved apology and will shell out more than $220,000 in compensation payments after leaving passengers stranded for three days in Honolulu.
The airline has let down the 227 people booked on the flight, general manager of customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui said.
“Due to the lengthy nature of this disruption, the difficulty we’ve experienced in adequately communicating with customers and the fact we have repeatedly let them down, we have made the decision that in addition to our unreserved apology we will also be compensating each customer $1,000 in either cash or Airpoints Dollars,” Hurihanganui said in a statement.
Those booked on NZ9, which was due to depart Honolulu on Sunday night (NZ time), made three trips to Honolulu airport only to leave disappointed due to a technical problem with the operating aircraft, a 767-300ER. The issue was exacerbated by the difficulties Air New Zealand had in arranging accommodation for its stranded passengers near Honolulu Airport due to RIMPAC 2014, the world’s largest naval exercise, which operates from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which is adjacent to the airport.
“Air NZ 767 (NZ9 to Akl) aborts takeoff at speed mid-runway at Honolulu just now after indication left engine temperature raised. #backatgate,” Tweeted New Zealand Herald editor-in-chief and passenger on the flight Tim Murphy. “Pilot excellent in explaining faults in face of some rancour,” he later Tweeted.
Hurihanganui described the problem as a series of “evolving engineering issues”.
“A part was required and we attempted to source a replacement within the US, however, despite assurances, the right part was not supplied,” she said. “Fortunately, as a backup, we also loaded the part onto NZ10 from our Auckland Technical Operations base this morning [July 29] and this will arrive in Honolulu this evening.”
The delayed service, re-numbered as flight NZ6889, was due to land in Auckland just before 1500 (NZ time) on Wednesday. According to reports about half the passengers booked on the delayed NZ9 were able to be reaccomodated on a Hawaiian Airlines flight.
“We are incredibly sorry to have let our customers down and will conduct a full review to see how we could have managed this disruption better,” Hurihanganui said.