Aviation

Air New Zealand engineer among those killed in Friday’s Christchurch shooting

Christian Fleetwood

Air New Zealand has confirmed the loss of a long-serving engineer who was among those killed in Friday’s shooting tragedy in Christchurch.

At least 50 people were killed in Friday’s shooting tragedy at two seperate mosques – the Masjid al-Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, Christchurch, and the Linwood Avenue mosque in Linwood–where at least one gunman with a semi-automatic weapon massacred worshippers gathered for Friday prayers.

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

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said the airline is devastated over the loss of one of its team members.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Air New Zealand has capped one-way domestic fares for flights directly to and from Christchurch at $139 to assist customers travelling to support those affected by the shooting tragedy.

The airline has had compassionate fare assistance in place since Friday, which has seen it offer free travel to immediate family of deceased as well as discounted compassionate fares to other affected friends and family.

Air New Zealand introduced travel flexibility on Friday allowing any customer booked to travel on services to or from Christchurch over the weekend to automatically have the option to change or re-book any tickets without incurring any change fees or difference in fare.

All destination Christchurch domestic bookings made with Air New Zealand after 3:00pm on Friday 15 March will be refunded back to the level of the reduced fares.

Customers are advised to consult the airline’s Travel Alerts page for more details.

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