Qantas takes a trip down memory lane in its centenary year, while New Zealand takes native birds under its wing – all in the name of safety

3 March, 2020

Long gone are the days of those boring air safety videos that ticked every box for regulators, but ticked-off most passengers. They may be a legal requirement, but with a very formal script and wooden flight attendants they were far from engaging with most regular travellers keeping their heads down reading their complementary newspapers.

Fortunately, in most cases those poorly produced videos are a thing of the past - much like those newspapers, many would acknowledge. More money is being invested in delivering out-of-the-box mini film features enlisting famous actors, sports stars or popular themes to get passengers watching and keep them entertained as the important safety features are outlined.

This week both Qantas and Air New Zealand have debuted their latest offerings, very different themes, but each conveying an important message.

In the case of Qantas it is a celebration of its 100 years of flying, from the flying boats and propeller aircraft from the early 1900s, right up to the current day, it features ten decades of operations brought to life through recreated scenes and magic of computer generated imagery.

It highlights how roles have changed as current Qantas staff appear in historical versions of their current jobs. It even has a cameo appearance from Alastair Fysh, the grandson of Qantas co-founder Hudson Fysh.

The full video is more than eight minutes in length and has been introduced following more than 12 months of development and pre-production. It was filmed over a three week period across seven destinations in Australia including Longreach, Rose Bay (Sydney), HARS (Historical Aircraft Restoration Society) Aviation Museum at Wollongong, Melbourne, Brisbane Airport and the pink lakes of Hutt Lagoon in Western Australia.

Meanwhile, in Air New Zealand's case the theme of its latest air safety video supports its environmental and sustainability initiatives as it takes native birds under its wing.

Air New Zealand has today hatched its latest safety video A Journey to Safety. The video highlights the impact of New Zealand's biodiversity crisis through the story of a young girl who transports a lost takahē to his new home with help from Air New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

The airline's latest offering builds on its eight-year partnership with DOC. The two organisations have been working together since 2012 to help protect and enhance New Zealand's natural environment. Under the partnership the airline has transported more than 3,200 threatened species to safe havens, funded pest traps across 38,000 hectares of the country, and supported marine science and research within New Zealand's marine reserves.

Rising star Lily Roebuck is supported in the role of Janey by DOC Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki, DOC ranger Jerry Henry-Finch, Air New Zealand crew members Danielle Griffioen, Henry McIntyre, Shelly Pretorius and Jordan Young, children of Air New Zealand employees, and a CGI takahē named Mr T.

As you would expect New Zealand's stunning landscapes also feature heavily in the production, with the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in Waikato all making an appearance.

Air New Zealand's General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams says the newest video is a charming story, but it has a serious message behind it.

"While it's light-hearted on the surface, it conveys a really important message - our native birds need our help. Our safety videos have collectively generated more than 180 million views over the past decade, so what better medium to shine a spotlight on New Zealand's biodiversity crisis," she says.

Right now is certainly a globally significant time when it comes to New Zealand's biodiversity crisis. "The reality is, a huge number of our species are on the fast track to extinction," warns Department of Conservation Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki

"We've already lost 50 species of birds since humans arrived in New Zealand, and each year up to 25 million native birds are killed by introduced predators. Protecting our native taonga is a massive challenge, but one all Kiwis and businesses can be part of," she adds.