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Air New Zealand MVP For NPC Unions

MEDIA RELEASE October 25, 2002

Air New Zealand MVP For NPC Unions

It's not often after a major rugby competition that the competing unions look off the field for their MVPs (Most Valuable Players).

But that's the view of many of the Unions participating in the NPC rugby competition as they calculate the contribution of the major sponsor, Air New Zealand.

The figures tell their own story of the airline's special place in the success of the competition.

By the time the final whistle blows on nearly 10,000 minutes of rugby in the 2002 season, Air New Zealand will have carried 4,940 players and officials on 188 flights covering a distance of nearly 110,000 kilometers.

Provincial rugby unions around the country say the support they get from Air New Zealand's long standing and unwavering commitment to the competition is vital.

A recent survey of all 27 Unions shows unanimously that without Air New Zealand's involvement in the NPC it would be almost impossible for them to compete in the competition.

"The expense and logistics involved in transporting our players and officials around the country throughout the NPC season is huge but is made possible by Air New Zealand's continued support," was the most common response.

The Air New Zealand executive responsible for every travel booking for the Air New Zealand NPC, Blenheim Travel Centre Manager Jim Curry, says the logistics involved in moving what equates to 330 rugby teams the equivalent of nine trips from Auckland to London are phenomenal.

"Not only do we have to make sure large numbers of people and their mountains of luggage arrive well and truly in time for each week's match, we often have to arrange quite complex travel routes outside our normal scheduled services," says Mr Curry.

"Of the 188 flights we've organised for the 2002 Air New Zealand NPC, 76 have been non scheduled services from places like Invercargill to New Plymouth, and Hokitika to Gisborne."

Mr Curry says the smooth running of such a major logistical exercise is a real tribute to a large Air New Zealand team including schedulers, crews, ground staff and airport personnel, many of whom have to keep airports open until after midnight to accommodate teams wishing to return home immediately after a match.

Air New Zealand Vice President of Marketing, Ed Sims, says the company's commitment to all 27 provincial unions is key to ensuring the NPC is a genuinely national championship embracing every region of New Zealand.

"The 2002 season has been another successful year for the Air New Zealand NPC and we look forward to celebrating our 10th year of involvement with this unique sporting competition in 2003."


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