Interesting bit of history Air New Zealand nabs top spot as most reputable company in … Australia

James Thomson11:01, Apr 26 2017

Air New Zealand is flying high in Australia.
JOHN NICHOLSON/FAIRFAX NZAir New Zealand is flying high in Australia.

Rugby’s Bledisloe Cup. Cricket’s Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. Now a New Zealand company has taken the title of Australia’s most reputable firm.

Air New Zealand has grabbed number one spot on the annual Reputation Index produced by research group AMR and the Reputation Institute.

The Kiwi national carrier, which jumped from its sixth-placed ranking last year, beat out retail giant JB Hi-Fi, car company Toyota and Australia’s flag carrier Qantas for the top spot.

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AMR’s managing director, Oliver Freedman, said it was highly unusual for a “clearly overseas” company to take a spot on a list of most reputable companies.

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“While former winner Toyota is an overseas company it has been based in Australia and had manufacturing here,” Freedman said.

“But this is a national airline of another country. It’s not even a company that is seen as a global company – it’s a true Kiwi company.”

He put the airline’s strong reputation down to an increased marketing presence in Australia and a strong performance on customer service.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has a good reason to smile.
JOHN ANTHONY/FAIRFAX NZAir New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has a good reason to smile.

The carrier’s irreverent approach to marketing – perhaps best seen through its clever in-flight safety videos featuring hobbits and All Blacks – has also helped.

“They’ve created a sense of who they are, they are not just like any other airline,” Freedman said. “We know that if companies are able to promote a message – for them it’s a bit irreverent and a bit humorous – then it can work.”

It was the first time Air New Zealand had been named Australia’s most reputable company, and the second year in a row it was number one in New Zealand.

Not just Middle Earth, now Air NZ is owning Australia.
SUPPLIEDNot just Middle Earth, now Air NZ is owning Australia.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said it was a fantastic achievement and more recognition the relatively small airline punched above its weight.

“The results are testament to all the hard work of Air New Zealand staff who over the past decade have helped build an enviable reputation for the airline globally by delivering our uniquely Kiwi award-winning experience.

“It’s clear Australians love the Air New Zealand products and services and we’re thrilled to be held in such high regard on both sides of the Tasman.

The biggest slide on the Australian list came from dairy group Murray Goulburn, which crashed 15 places from eight to 23 out of 60 after a disastrous year when the co-op’s products were briefly boycotted in some quarters in protest against the reduction in payments to dairy farmers.

Samsung, which battled a huge product recall of its Galaxy Note 7 last year, slipped 11 places to 14.

Australia Post, which ranked first in 2009, has continued its reputational decline, falling 10 places from last year to rank 29th overall in 2017.

Freedman said the survey that underpinned the index was taken in February and March, just after the scandal around the salary of former chief executive Ahmed Fahour, who subsequently announced his departure from the state-owned company.

Retail giant Woolworths showed some signs of recovery after plunging 23 places to rank 40th overall in 2016; in 2017 it ranked 26th.

AustralianSuper made its debut on the list in 10th place, while the major banks delivered mixed results in a year marked by calls for a royal commission and out-of-cycle rate cuts. National Australia Bank tumbled from 32 for 43 on the list, while Commonwealth Bank rose from 42 to 36.

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The Reserve Bank of Australia joined the list in 31st. Freedman said it ranked well for governance but much lower for innovation.

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