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Air New Zealand weighing passengers before boarding international flights

Air New Zealand assures passengers their weight will remain hidden from public view.
Air New Zealand assures passengers their weight will remain hidden from public view. Copyright AP/Air New Zealand
Copyright AP/Air New Zealand
By Euronews with AP
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New Zealand's national airline is asking passengers to step on the scales before they board international flights as part of a month-long survey of the weight and balance of its planes before takeoff.

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The airline wants to weigh 10,000 passengers but the good news for those self-conscious about their weight is that there will be no public display of the results. 

Weigh-in data will remain anonymous even to airline staff. 

"It's important because we need to know the weights of everything that goes on board our aircraft and for passengers or customers, crew and their cabin bags, we use an average weight and that average weight comes from this survey," Air New Zealand's Load Control Specialist Alastair James told TVNZ.

In fact, the numbers are required by the nation's industry watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority.

Under the authority's rules, airlines have various options to estimate passenger weight.

One option is to periodically carry out surveys like Air New Zealand is doing to establish an average weight.

Another option is to accept a standard weight set by the authority.

Currently, the authority's designated weight for people 13 and over is 86 kilograms (190 pounds), including carry-on luggage.

The authority last changed the average passenger weight in 2004, increasing it from 77 kilograms (170 pounds).

Health statistics show New Zealanders are becoming heavier.

The latest national health survey put the adult obesity rate at 34%, up from 31% a year earlier.

Childhood obesity rates increased to 13%, up from 10% a year earlier.

Customers on Air New Zealand domestic flights were asked to weigh in a couple of years ago.

James said there was nothing for passengers to fear by stepping on the scales.

The airline said the survey began this week and will run through July 2.

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