New Zealand Prime Minister hitches ride on commercial plane after his official Government jet breaks down

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - Passengers on an Air New Zealand plane were unaware of the reason their plane made an unplanned stop on Monday, June 17 unknown to them that they were picking up the country’s prime minister after his government aircraft broke down.

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and a group of prominent business leaders were en route to Tokyo for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The entourage was travelling on a Royal New Zealand Defense Force plane, which stopped in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to refuel. Then the unexpected happened as the plane, a Boeing 757 over 30 years old, had a fuse issue and couldn’t continue the journey.

Fortunately, one of the business leaders in the delegation was Air New Zealand (ANZ) CEO Greg Foran.

He made calls for an ANZ commercial flight traveling from Auckland to Tokyo to swing by Port Moresby and pick up some of the stranded passengers, including Luxon.

Coincidentally, Prime Minister Luxon, who was elected in 2023, spent seven years as the CEO of Air New Zealand before getting into politics.

New Zealand’s defence minister, Judith Collins, called the situation “embarrassing” in an interview with Kiwi radio station Newstalk ZB.

“We have a very old aircraft and we are expecting it to perform like brand new out of the box and that’s simply not going to happen,” Collins said. “No PM wants to spend an awful amount of money on something that’s seen as nice to have by some people.”

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