Mike Hosking: Air New Zealand's flying high, but Fonterra is abysmal

Posted by On 7:25 PM

Mike Hosking: Air New Zealand's flying high, but Fonterra is abysmal

COMMENT:

We received the Air New Zealand apology at our house over the weekend. And we, like I assume tens of thousands of other frequent flyers have been, in some way shape or form, messed about a bit by our national airline due to their various issues over the past year.

Here's the upside of all of this: you may remember the profit announcement the other day, just shy of a record and robust by anyone's standards.

So even in difficult days they have still managed to be lean and flexible enough to turn over some serious money.

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Further, this is important given, of course, we all own a decent stake in the company.

And as the letter from chief executive Christopher Luxon pointed out, Air New Zealand is one of those companies that makes up a fairly significant chunk of the national psy che when it comes to business.

Fonterra would be the other and we will come to them shortly.

Where you could probably criticise the airline to a point is it could be argued that, like the airports they so heavily criticise, they have been caught out by the boom in tourist numbers.

The whole travel experience, and we have done several long haul trips this year, reeks of a system groaning at the seams of capacity.

The airports can't cope, the lounges can't cope, there aren't enough gates, the bags take an age, and they don't seem to have enough planes.

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Now part of that is, of course, Rolls-Royce. The Dreamliner fiasco I assume is in the hands of lawyers and large cheques are presumably coming our way.

But it doesn't fix the cold, hard fact that there are more people than seats, when so many of your planes are out of action.

Yet overall these are golden days for Air New Zealand. This is a publicly-owned company that enjoys a robust reputation, and a lot of goodwill.

And that was where the apology letter from Luxon stood out.

Contrast that to the aforementioned Fonterra.

Should there not have been an apology letter from them as well?

No they're not as widely owned as Air New Zealand, they're a co-operative. But there is not a shadow of a doubt that they are at the forefront of the one of the biggest earners for this country: dairy.

Air New Zealand, tourism. Fonterra, dairy. Two of the biggest and one and two in foreign income. Tens of billions of dollars worth of business between them.

Both, it would seem, have troubles. Air New Zealand acknowledges this, and is aiming at a fix.

Fonterra, hello? Hello? Any one there?

They pay the bloke who cocked it up $8 million as he leaves the building, and admit to three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of cock ups in France and China.

Getting their forecasts hopelessly wrong, and leaving the overarching impression that they need a major overhaul if not a kick up the arse.

So much of good business these days is about reputation and attitude. Fonterra's is abysmal, Air New Zealand's is gold standard.

No, we don't always get it right, and yes there can be tough days. But it's how you handle those times that marks you out in the minds of punters, customers, and shareholders.

The contrast in these two cases, two of our most important and influential firms could not be more stark.

So urce: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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