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Airline Staff Get Into Training For NPC Kick Off

14 August, 2003

AIRLINE STAFF GET INTO TRAINING FOR AIR NEW ZEALAND NPC RUGBY SEASON KICK OFF

With less than 24 hours to go till the start of this year's Air New Zealand National Provincial Championship, airline staff around the country are gearing up for one of the biggest logistical undertakings of the year.

Hundreds of check-in staff, baggage handlers, cabin crew and flight liaison officers work to make the mammoth travel jigsaw of 27 teams travelling the length and breadth of the country over the 11 week campaign come together as seamlessly as possible.

This year is a special milestone - the tenth anniversary of the Air New Zealand NPC sponsorship.

During this landmark season, Air New Zealand will handle:

* 4,500 players, coaches and officials - that's the entire population of Carterton

* Fly the teams 150,000 kilometres around New Zealand - the equivalent of seven return trips to Los Angeles

* Check-in, carry and offload 14 tonnes of team baggage (imagine a mountain of sports bags four times the size of Kashin the Auckland Zoo Indian elephant)

Flying the teams from all points of the airline network is a complicated task - for instance, getting players from Westport or Gisborne to New Plymouth or Whangarei would mean several flights on a normal commercial schedule and the best part of a day's travelling.

Underlining the strength of its commitment to the championship, Air New Zealand is putting on a number of special charter flights to address this challenge and help teams reach their away games as quickly and directly as possible.

ENDS


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