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PM Luxon's Tokyo Trip Derailed: Air New Zealand Steps In After Government Plane Malfunctions

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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An odd event threw off New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's Tokyo travel schedule, underscoring the difficulties with government flights. Along with key business leaders, Luxon was on a Royal New Zealand Defense Force Boeing 757 headed toward meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. For refueling, the aircraft unexpectedly stopped in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, but ran upon a fuse issue that ground it.

Among the delegation was Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, who quickly arranged for an Air New Zealand commercial flight from Auckland to Tokyo to divert to Port Moresby to gather the stranded passengers, including Luxon. The airline confirmed this unofficial rescue effort for CNN.

Fascinatingly, Luxon, elected in 2023, had earlier presided over Air New Zealand for seven years prior to running for office. The event attracted criticism from Judith Collins, the defense minister of New Zealand, who described it as "embarrassing" in an interview with Newstalk ZB and blamed aging of the aircraft for the problem.

In a similar incident in 2022, then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encountered mechanical issues on her return aircraft from Antarctica, where she had been visiting Scott Base. The unanticipated delay Ardern and her group needed to secure a lift back to New Zealand on an Italian military jet highlighted the weaknesses occasionally experienced in official travel plans.

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