Air New Zealand pays tribute to engineer killed in Christchurch massacre

March 17, 2019
Air New Zealand massacre Christchurch
Photo: Facebook.

Air New Zealand has paid tribute to a long-serving engineer among the 50 people killed in Friday’s horror attack on two mosques in Christchurch.

An Australian extreme right-wing terrorist has been charged with murder after he went on the rampage and opened fire on defenseless worshippers, shocking and appalling people in Australia and New Zealand.

Thirty-six victims were still in hospital Sunday, including a five-year-old girl.

Among those killed was Lilik Abdul Hamid, an aircraft maintenance engineer in Christchurch, was in the Deans Avenue Mosque at the time of the attacks.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the the airline is devastated to lose one of its team.

“Lilik has been a valued part of our engineering team in Christchurch for 16 years, but he first got to know the team even earlier when he worked with our aircraft engineers in a previous role overseas,” Luxon said in a statement issued Sunday.

“The friendships he made at that time led him to apply for a role in Air New Zealand and make the move to Christchurch. His loss will be deeply felt by the team.

“Lilik, his wife Nina and their children Zhania and Gerin are well known and loved by our close-knit team of engineers and their families, who are now doing all they can to support the family alongside our leadership team and the airline’s special assistance team.

“Our thoughts are with them and their family and friends as they come to terms with this terrible loss.

“I would also like to acknowledge the many, many other families, including the families of some of our other team members, who have also lost loved ones in this tragedy, and the wider Muslim and Christchurch communities.

“Like so many others here in New Zealand and around the world I am appalled by Friday’s events. New Zealand is well known internationally for its warmth and acceptance of all people and this attack cuts to the very core of who we are.

“At Air New Zealand we welcome all as friends and will continue to do so.”

The New Zealand carrier capped one-way fares to and from Christchurch at $NZ139 to assist customers needed to travel to the South Island city to support those affected by the tragedy.

It also offered compassionate fare assistance offering free travel to immediate family members of those killed as well as discounted compassionate fares to other affected friends and family.

On Friday it introduced the flexibility for any passenger booked on services to and from Christchurch over the weekend to change or rebook tickets with incurring change fees or fare differences.

It has also been working with authorities to transport key people such as police and emergency services personnel to the stricken city.

Regional flights to the city were briefly suspended on Friday and the airline has added additional security screening to those flights since they were resumed.