1) Air New Zealand
Probably the most over-looked of the traditional western "legacy" carriers. In 2000 and 2001 they were a MESS
. Had it not been for the New Zealand Government deciding that air services were essential
for a geographically divided and isolated nation which is economically dependent on exports and who therefore nationalised them, then they would have gone the same way as Ansett. After that initial cash injection NZ
received no further public funds but underwent a major restructuring which saw them relaunch their domestic operations effectively as an LCC and then fundamentally upgrading their long-haul product a year later. In effect they adopted two models: a rudimentary one for domestic (AKL
is little more than 1h30) and a superb one for long-haul. They also successfully managed to reduce their labour costs without the major acrimony or disruption experienced by many other airlines, and their crew are generally very highly motivated and (by any account) even after job cuts, pay cuts and many other cuts relations between crew and management are much better than at many other airlines. Indeed, comparing industrial relations between NZ
is nothing less than embarrassing. Going forward they are being innovative introducing some bizarre concepts such as the sky couch and their new Y+ looks substantially better than any
other comparable product in the world. From worst to first in 10 years.....
I ardently believe that the airline is not subsidised, but without starting that debate no one can deny that what they have done is inspiring. Let's presume that they are
: Gulf Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines and many others are flying proof that oil money without a fantastic management team is meaningless. Tim Clarke et al deserve to be bowed down to!