Project Description

Building optimism, resilience and engagement in the workforce.

Air New Zealand


Air New Zealand operates domestic and international passenger transport and cargo services and employs approximately 10,000 people throughout the world.


In 2009, as a direct result of the global financial crisis, extremely difficult trading conditions and increasing pressure on management and staff to manage change and customer expectations, Air New Zealand sought to implement a programme that would build a sense of optimism, resilience and engagement across all people employed in the business.

Even when confronted with a deteriorating global economy and their own financial survival, Air New Zealand were steadfast in their commitment to build an organisation focused on fleet efficiency, the environment, high performance culture and capability, cost management and personalised customer experience. To realise this goal, Air New Zealand needed a workforce with a positive mindset, a customer-service excellence attitude, an optimistic view of the future of the airline and ready to take on new challenges and innovate.

The results speak for themselves.


  • A partnership formed with senior management to set out to make a positive impact on the culture across the organisation – creating a ‘want’ to rather than a ‘have’ to culture.
  • In order to build capacity in staff to respond to challenges with resiliency and drive, the organisation wanted to focus on changing people’s attitudes and mindsets, which in turn, would have a positive effect on their optimism, behaviour and performance.
  • A joint team comprising key Air New Zealand staff and specialist consultants from The Pacific Institute® helped develop a customised programme to address these issues.
  • Consequently Air New Zealand’s “Realise Your Potential®” was rolled out during 2010 and 2011.

Over a period of two years, The Pacific Institute® trained more than 80 Air New Zealand staff and accredited them to deliver the customised “Realise Your Potential®” programme across all senior management and staff of Air New Zealand. The programme was presented to management and staff as a voluntary programme and after two years 9,600 staff (out of a total of 10,000 staff) attended the programme. Management and staff who attended this internally delivered programme awarded an average overall point rating of 4.75 out of 5.


As a result of their training, Air New Zealand was poised, ready to bounce back after the economic crisis subsided.

Results from 2009 to 2016 show improvements in the following (in NZD):

  • Normalized Earnings (before tax) = $145 Million (2009) to $663 Million (2016)
  • Net Profit (After tax) = $21 Million (2009) to $463 Million (2016)
  • Operating Revenue = $4.6 Billion (2009) to $5.23 Billion (2016)

Delivering measurable benefits: partnering with The Pacific Institute was the right choice

Awards prove that the organisation has made significant gains in its culture and performance.

Airline of the Year 2010: Voted by Penton Media’s Air Transport World®, USA’s leading airline magazine, the carrier was honoured for its superb commitment to safety and operational excellence, superb and groundbreaking customer service that combined high-tech, passenger-friendly IT systems with high-touch and caring staff. The judges were impressed with the airline’s leadership role in addressing environmental challenges facing the portfolio_category, including conducting the world’s first sustainable biofuel flight.

Best Airline 2010: Awarded by UK’s top consumer magazine ‘Which?’, this award was independently voted by readers. The award theme, ‘Who Cares Wins’ was all about which companies provided the best customer service. According to the magazine’s Chief Executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, “To win this award, not only must a company offer outstanding products or services, it must also deliver exceptional value and a great customer experience; Air New Zealand is a deserving winner”.

Winner of 12 Skytrax World Airline Awards since 2010, including:

  • World’s best premium economy class 3 times
  • Best Airline Australia/Pacific twice

74 recognised awards since 2010, voted Best Airline in the World three times, including six ‘Airline of the Year’ awards.

Airline portfolio_category Leader in Innovation, for example:

Air New Zealand anticipates that as a direct result of their partnership with The Pacific Institute®, there has been a positive impact on individuals. Their direct investment in their people means that the organisation will be able to help move its workforce forward and have a far better alignment with its desired culture and consequently drive performance.

“I am so pleased at how well staff are taking to “Realise Your Potential” and the incredible stories that are flooding us about the impact it is having on people’s lives. We also have an AMAZING team of facilitators who are so passionate about the programme and this infects everyone they come across.” Melissa Crawford - Organisational Development, Air New Zealand