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Air New Zealand airbus in fatal crash

Air New Zealand has confirmed one of its A320 airbuses has crashed in the Mediterranean.

It is understood seven people were on board, including possibly up to five Air New Zealand employees.

Two bodies have reportedly been recovered.

The airline says the aircraft was on lease to a European based company and was being operated by the leasee.

The plane crashed into the sea as it was approaching the airport at Perpignan, where it had been undergoing maintenance.

The A-320 was leased by Air New Zealand to German carrier XL Airways.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe says it was due to return to service with Air New Zealand next month.

"Naturally, this is an extremely difficult time for us all and the full resources of the airline are being put into investigating what may have happened and providing support to our people and their families,” Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said in a statement this morning.

Comments and questions

What a lot of rot. It WAS NOT an Air NZ crash. The plane was NOT being run by Air NZ, but another company in another country. What stupid scare mongering headlines. You are idiots.

hay mate it was an air new zealand plane it was just on leas by a naver company.

You have to agree with Air NZ Crash who made the comment on the fact it was NOT an air nz crash...they obviously have read the reports PROPERLY!!!!!!!!

Just because Air NZ owned the aircraft does not make them responsible for the accident. The tech crew on board were not flying the plane...the XL Air tech crew were...and XL Air maintained it. If it were being flown and maintained by Air NZ I very much doubt this would have occured!!!!!!


what a load of rot your comment was! just because it didnt happen over here does not mean its unimportant as you may have heard that 5 kiwi air nz staff members were killed. so stop your whining mate.

as it seems it is air nz aircraft,and has been leasee for the last sixteen months to xl airways.

"scare mongering"? This is a FACT, not a rumour being spread by people like you who use expressions and words without knowing the meaning. It was an Air New Zealand aircraft, with Kiwis onboard. Thoughts go to everyone affected by this tragedy.

This is an Air New Zealand aircraft, with Air NZ crew, therefor u must consider it an Air NZ accident.

Lets think of it this way, if a Qantas aircraft was being leased to an overseas airline and something went wrong, dont u think we would hear over here that it was infact a QF accident? Yes, of course we would. The aircraft is registered to that company, therefore its their aircraft involved.

If the Air NZ reports show this accident was due to lax maintainence, it will then come down to who had been servicing the aircraft - NZ or Germany. And the responsible airline will then no doubt have their safety record affected.

Thoughts and condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.

If you read the reports correctly the Air NZ plane was leased to XL Air. XL Air Pilots were flying the aircraft, XL Air have admitted they carried out the maintenance on the aircraft. Air NZ were taking over the aircraft after leasing it to XL Air for the past two years. Air NZ were not responsible for this tragedy as Air NZ had not officially taken over this lease, hence the reason they were just OBSERVING the flight.
Yes it would have been in Air NZ colours' as the plane would have been repainted in France in preparation for Air NZ to return the aircraft to NZ.

It is highly unfortunate that Air New Zealanders' lives have been lost in this terrible tragedy. My thoughts go out to the families of the victims.

Air New Zealand owned aircraft with German, Air New Zealand and NZCAA Staff on board - so yes, i would imagine that the title is very accurate..... Plonker....

Thoughts are with all those invovled

OFFICIAL SOURCE HERE: Yes the plane (A320 OJL) was leased by German airline; XL. It was on it's final test flight after finishing the lease. The plane was going back to NZ after that flight, in fact. It was then going to the be flying around NZ, Australia and the Pacific Islands for the increased Xmas air traffic. The aircraft had four Air NZ personnel on board. Two engineers (one from AKL, one from CHC), one NZCAA official from AKL and Captain Brian Horrell of AKL. He was a wonderful Captain and was not in charge of the aircraft as it went down. I worked with him for many years and he was an absolute professional, a very wise and funny man and a sensational pilot. He will be missed by all the crew and his beautiful family.

The loss of life that occurred in the Airbus accident over the Mediterranean today can only be described as a tragedy, and New Zealand hearts go out to the families of those local lives lost.

The second tragedy was Air New Zealand’s public relations effort in the hours following. This resulted in the media's expected, ravenous devouring of a good brand.

Whilst Air New Zealand never publicly accepted any blame for the incident, its unecessary high-profile press conference and statements around the tragedy, have seen the airline’s global reputation tarnished.

On Friday night Australian and British media outlets were labelling the crash an ‘Air New Zealand crash’ when quite clearly it wasn’t. One only has to hit Google News to see that 'Air New Zealand' is now the culprit and it's gone global.

The fact of the matter is it wasn’t an Air New Zealand flight, period. Airlines regularly lease surplus aircraft out around the globe and a condition of those leases includes the entire operation and maintenance of that aircraft. This wasn’t an Air New Zealand crash, it was an XL Airways crash which unfortunately has Kiwis onboard.

Whilst the cause of the crash won’t be known for some time, the overwheleming majority of modern airliner crashes are the result of pilot error. This was an XL AIrways crash.

Stupid Air New Zealand should have butted out and quietly commenced its own mourning, assistance and investigation programme, without calling the hungry media into a press conference.

Again, what a terrible tragedy for those lives lost.

I agree, i had the pleasure of working with Mr Horrell aswell, most friendly person, loved the passengers and was just plain passionate about work and life.
My thoughts go out to the family and friends of all the victims.
Air New Zealand were lucky to have the benefit of having all four professionals on their staff.

The headline says "Air New Zealand airbus in fatal crash".
The aircraft belonged to Air New Zealand so the headline is correct.

It would have been better if the headline had read "XL Airways successfully hands Airbus back to Air New Zealand" but if that had been the case the media would never have reported it.

Personally, my thoughts go out to the families of the people that lost their lives. They are not going to be having a very festive season this year.

Bei einem Testflug in Südfrankreich ist ein Airbus-Flugzeug des Typs A320 (Reg: D-AXLA) mit sieben Menschen (2 Deutsche und 5 New Zealand) an Bord ins Mittelmeer gestürzt.

Certainly and definitely an XL Airlines operated flight with the aircraft registered in Germany; therefore an XL Airline crash. It was owned by AIR NZ, probably the insurance company by now, but had nothing to do with the crash.

My condolences and sympathy extends the families of lost ones and again, as in Erebus 29 years ago, to the NZ aviation community.

XL / Air Nezaland who ever the leaser any body know
what's the root cause of the crash whilst Xl pilots
in the control , Didn't the frnch ATC controller sense anything sleeping????

You will find also Royal Brunei had pretty much the same thing happen to them with an aircraft on lease and they had their name used in the same way as air nz. Unfortunatly there is more of a story if it is a known brand its just the way the world/media works these days. Very tragic and i am sure with most the love goes out to the family

I live in Perpignan, about 8kms from the crash scene and on Thursday afternoon, as I was driving back from work, I saw the Air new Zealand A320 flying in a circle, just a few minutes before it crashed. For the past 2 days, tens of people, rescuers, divers, police, French marines, have been doing their best in order to find survivors in very poor weather conditions. I find it quite amazing that most people here are only concerned about whether it's an Air New Zealand crash or not.

Both Air New Zealand and XL have excellent safety cultures. The current focus should be on the recovery of the missing persons. For the purpose of an air accident investigation, the A320 aircraft will be deemed to be operated by the Air Operator Certificate holder under whose auspices teh flight was conducted, in this case I believe XL.

It would be premature to point blame at either party at this point. The CVR's will give some idea as to what took place in the final moments of the flight.Condolences to family and friends of all involved.

I do not trust the airbus as ulitmately the pilots are not in complete control - the computer is. It would be like having a car without a steering wheel and just inputting data on where you are going, which would be great if there was no way the computer could fail but I would rather the steering wheel in the car remained in place as an option so that I could control my car. The pilots are highly capable people and i would rather they fly the plane manually than rely on a complex computer. An example of technology not always being the answer.

Absolutely right - these aircraft are known as "fly by wires". Ultimately the pilots are always in control however if there are problems the aircraft computers will take over.

Only so much finger pointing can be done in regards to this, but the sad part is that there was a loss of lives involved.

Air NZ were dammed if they did and dammed if they didn't, so in all respects they have acted accordingly. It is good to see them handle the situation as they have regardless of who was flying the aircraft. Lets not forget that at the end of the day the aircraft was flying the Koru.

I have operated myself as a second officer on the A320, and it is a fairly robust and reliable aircraft.

Air travel is still one of the safest forms of travel, but like anything there is always a risk. This tragedy may still be of a technical nature and could have been an even bigger one if it was on operational duties within the Air NZ network.

My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy,

No doubt the strength of the aeroplane as demonstrated in the Hudson River incident but the question has to be asked as to the nose pitch the then the dive as evidenced in the Qantas incident some months earlier. The difference is that the the QF aicraft had room to recover. Is there a problem with the aeroplane - the Airbus is primarily an engineered platform with little scope for pilot imput. It is already recognised that the aircraft did not respond to any pilot command - is this only an altitude issue?

Well put Brad, that is why we do test flights

I personally have friends who are pilots on the airbus and only do it for the extra money. They say the airbus is safe but it is not like flying a real plane. There is no way go manual which I personally find highly scary placing all your faith in a computer. Are there any other pilots out there who could put me at ease regarding this or I will not be too comfy flying anymore

The aircraft was a concept with imput from aircraft engineers. Pilot imput was nil. The idea was that if the aircraft was in difficulty then the on board computers would take over. Pilot override was a no go unless the autopilot was disengaged

Maybe we should ignore the headlines and the company names involved and just see the reality that we should not be bickering at a time like this, lives were lost, it doesn't where they were from there are still now out there many heartbroken people who sadly woke up finding out life will never be the same

As a close relative to one of the men missing I have found this very upsetting to read. I am thankful that only 7 lost their lives not 150. I feel for the Germany families who are also suffering as much as we are. So please just accept it as terrible tragity, pray for all those who lost their lives and all of us waiting for our love ones to come home.

Families are at a loss for their loved ones, they will grieve in so many ways for such a long time and only special thoughts and fond memories can support the period of time it takes before the families are able to personally farewell their loved ones, where also at some stage these families will be given assurances by those investigating how this tragedy situation must be prevented for the future of Aviation, also for those dedicated to pursuing professional careers in Aviation as well as the peoples and communities whom rely on the services of Commercial Airliners.

My hat has to go off to Air NZ for actively putting the victims families needs in front of 'damage limitation' and making themselves accessable to the media during this very distressing and difficult time for all concerned. Well done Mr Fyfe!

A coulpe of facts:
This was an acceptance flight at the end of end-of-lease maintenance and, as such, the aicraft hadn't been signed off or handed back to Air NZ until completed and everything checked off. This is why the plane was piloted by the German pilots from XL and the Air NZ pilot was there as an observer to sign off that all tasks and checks on the test flight had been completed to his satisfaction.

As an engineer who has worked a large number of European airlines and also an ex-employee of Air NZ, I would like to say that they are amongst the most quality concious and professional organisations that I have worked for and find it very disapointing that the media have portrayed this story in the way that they have - doing damage to the Air NZ brand.
Personally, I can't think of another airline that I would feel more comfortble flying with.

Rather than pointing the finger at either airline or the maintenace facility, the facts should be waited for and the efforts and energies should be put into supporting the New Zealand and German families who have suffered in this accident.
If we thought for a moment what it must be like for them, surely all else is unimportant right now.

I think it sad that the main topic of these threads seems to be who actually owned the aircraft at the time it went down. The fact is that irrespective of "ownership" or "fault" several people have lost their lives and several families, NZ and European, have lost cherished members.

In light of that, I have to say, I find a lot of the previous comments childish, churlish and more than a little insensitive! I've worked with many NZ guys and they would be embarassed by all this!

My deepest sympathy to ALL concerned.

As a brother of one of the men lost I have had a personal interest in the event. To the Rob Fyfe and the Air New Zealand team I have only the highest of praise and admoration. The outstanding efforst that has been put into supporting our families is beyond words... Thank you.
To the French authorities, again the highest of regard and thanks for the efforts and resources that have been put in to recovy of our loved ones and for the efforts put in to idenifying the cause and to help in preventing such trageties from happing in the future.
And to the people of Canet-en-Roussillon, Thank you for the care you have taken of the families who have journeyed half-way around the world to bring their/our men home and for the respect and dignity you have shown during this/our ordeal.

Thank you all for your messages of sympathy and condolence.

Hi = My heartful condolences to you and your loved ones.The ghastly coincidence of Erebus is unbelievable. I lost many friends and colleagues on 29th November 1979 and to have this happen again is tragic. We can only hope that any result from these accidents will prevent any further disasters.

alritee guys we agree there was a crash with a air nz airline. who cares who was leaseing it!

Lets just hope that the people that were on the crash suvived and stop arguing about this whole thing yuur just wasteing yuur time !


what get's me is that straight after the crash in france air new zealand take on a world first bio fuel test that could of ended up in the ocean aswell oh well it was a sucess and all we have now is bragging rights to qantas

If anyone is still visiting this site, and wants a discussion/argument by people who know about the subject, go to where professional pilots and aeronautical engineers have about 500 views / opinions posted.
You may well end up more confused than you are now.

Why are these planes spreading like a rash amongst the world's airlines, when they seem to be falling out of the sky on a regular basis ? Is there an inherent fault with them and are the various airlines being offered 'sweeteners' to buy them ? And this blind dependence on computers is insane, especially on planes like the latest A380 which holds God knows how many passengers. It's like a flying town. Greed has taken over, and more and more passengers are being packed in. Think of the carnage when that falls from the sky. It's too horrifying to contemplate.