Air New Zealand came under heavy scrutiny after an investigation by local media disclosed that the flag carrier’s engineers were allegedly working on Saudi Arabia’s Navy equipment.
According to an investigation by 1News, the airline’s unit Gas Turbines, a company that specializes in servicing military marine engines and turbines, was providing support for the Saudi Navy. Air New Zealand’s division immediately stopped co-operating with the Saudi Navi after the scandalous information was revealed, indicated the outlet.
Following a third-party contract, Gas Turbines has been working on one power turbine module and two engines from vessels that belong to the Saudi Navy. The contract between the Air New Zealand unit and the Saudi Navy was signed in 2019.
“The Gas Turbines business has not contracted directly with the Royal Saudi Navy and will not be carrying out any further work of this nature,” an Air New Zealand spokesperson was quoted by 1News.
The government of New Zealand outlined that the actions of Air New Zealand put the international reputation of the country at risk. Speaking to local media, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, condemned the situation. Additionally, Grant Robertson, the Finance Minister, confirmed that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airline Greg Foran had apologized to the government on the phone.
“I think most New Zealanders would find it unacceptable to be doing that work,” stated Roberston.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as other officials of the country, started the investigation of whether Air New Zealand had breached the export control rules. Furthermore, the officials will enquire whether the actions of the airline‘s unit were legal as Air New Zealand reportedly did not have the necessary permits to export the engines to the Saudi Navy.