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Air NZ Clarifies Shanghai Cabin Crew Employment

Media statement
18 March 2008

Air New Zealand Clarifies Shanghai Cabin Crew Employment

Due to a number of erroneous and factually incorrect media items in recent days, Air New Zealand would like to again clarify the employment terms and conditions of its Shanghai based Cabin Crew.

The facts are as follows:

• Our Shanghai Crew Base was set up in 2006 with 64 staff to ensure we were able to provide a crew solution to meet the needs of our customers. 90% of our customers on the Auckland-Shanghai route are Mandarin speaking and we felt it was essential the majority of our crew could communicate in Mandarin with our customers.

• All foreign airlines are required by law to work through a Government Agency when recruiting both cabin crew and ground staff in China. Air New Zealand utilises the services of government agency FASCO (Foreign Aviation Service Corporation) which is also used by a number of international airlines including Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Northwest Airlines

• Salaries and terms and conditions are agreed in conjunction with this agency and are in line with the other airlines operating Shanghai crew bases. The salaries reflect local market relativities, as do the salaries for all our staff in off-shore locations like our crew base in London or staff in locations including Japan, USA and Australia.

• The total gross annual employment cost of a cabin crew member in Shanghai is approximately RMB 236,000 or the equivalent of NZ$46,000 per annum. This includes a base salary, a range of allowances and benefits and social security payments.

Contrary to media reports of a meal allowance of $55 per day, the meal allowance per day is up to $120, with an additional tax free daily allowance of $55 for supplementary costs.

• While in Auckland, the cabin crew stay at a central-city four star hotel with access to 24-hour room service and the choice of two restaurants from which to dine. The airline is currently introducing a credit card process to enable crew to dine at any establishment they wish up to the $120 meal allowance per day. The time spent in Auckland on layover ranges from 36 hours to four days.

• The package of approximately RMB 18,000 gross per month (exclusive of social security payments) compares with the average monthly wage of urban Chinese workers of RMB 1,853. Source: People’s Bank of China

• This package is in line with comparable New Zealand based cabin crew who have a total employment cost of approximately NZ$58,000. While Shanghai crew have a lower base salary, they only fly an average 72% of the flying hours of an Auckland based crew member.

• A Shanghai based crew member works an average 14 days of a 28 day roster. They average 2.5 return flights Shanghai-Auckland per roster.

“It is disappointing that the comments of one disgruntled former crew member and a publicity seeking immigration consultant have been given any credibility,” says Air New Zealand Group General Manager International Airline Ed Sims.

“Our Shanghai based cabin crew do a magnificent job and have helped contribute to the award winning success of our long-haul business.”


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