Air NZ's Toomey: Hopeful 1 Ansett 767 Back Thursday
Air NZ's Toomey: Groundings Cost Up To NZ$300,000 Day
Air NZ's Toomey: Total Ansett Cost So Far NZ$2.5 Million
Air NZ's Toomey: Canberra Meetings Very Productive
Air NZ's Toomey: CASA Submission Nearly Ready
Toomey:Wants To Hear NZ Govt View On Singapore Air Stake
Toomey: Ansett Booking Demand Remains Strong
Toomey: Corporate Clients Stay With Ansett
Singapore Stake Could Rise
MELBOURNE (Dow Jones)--Air New Zealand Ltd. (A.AIZ) chief executive Gary Toomey said Wednesday he expects the airline's Australian unit Ansett will be able to convince the air safety regulator it has fixed its safety and maintenance operations.
"We are confident that we can meet their requirements," Toomey told reporters.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority plans to issue Ansett with a "show cause" notice Friday which gives Ansett 14 days to prove why its license to operate aircraft shouldn't be revoked.
Last Thursday CASA revealed that it will issue the notice when it grounded Ansett's fleet of 10 Boeing 767-200 aircraft due to persistent safety and maintenance oversights. It is now in the process of inspecting the aircraft.
Toomey has said repeatedly that Ansett hopes CASA won't proceed with the notice as the airline will be able to provide solid evidence of its operational overhaul before Friday.
Toomey said he is hopeful that one of the 767s could return to service as early as Thursday.
He said the possibility of Singapore Airlines boosting its stake in Air NZ from its current holding of 25% is "an opportunity for us".
But he said he will first meet with the New Zealand government to ascertain what their recommendation is on the shareholding cap. Analysts have said Singapore Airlines is best placed to fund the A$1 billion-plus fleet upgrade needed by Ansett, noting that Air NZ isn't in a strong financial position.
Will Meet Helen Clark #
Toomey said changes to the shareholder cap "is a matter for the New Zealand government".
"I am looking to meet with the New Zealand Prime Minister (Helen Clark) to brief her on the current situation," he said, without elaborating.
A meeting with Australia's Transport Minister John Anderson and CASA director of aviation safety Mick Toller Wednesday was "very productive", Toomey said.
He said he is confident of being able to work with CASA to resolve the regulator's problems with its safety procedures.
Toomey said the grounding of the 767s just before the Easter holiday rush was costing Ansett between NZ$200,000 and NZ$300,000 a day. The total cost so far is NZ$2.5 million.
But despite the problems Ansett still has "strong demand for bookings", and corporate customers have remained loyal.
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