Air New Zealand is swinging into damage control this morning. The kiwi airline has suspended trading on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and will reduce capacity on domestic flights by 30% and international flights by 85%.
In a statement provided to Simple Flying this morning, Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said;
“We are a nimble airline with a lean cost base, strong balance sheet, good cash reserves, an outstanding brand and a team going above and beyond every day. We also have supportive partners. We are also in discussions with the Government at this time.”
Capacity to be cut across all Air New Zealand markets
Air New Zealand’s decision comes hours after tough travel restrictions came into force. New Zealand now requires all incoming passengers, regardless of citizenship status, to self-isolate for 14 days following arrival into the country.
The decision by the airline to place a trading halt on its stock is to allow time to assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions.
BREAKING: @FlyAirNZ cutting international capacity 85% thru June. Suspending LAX-LHR, AKL-ORD, IAH, SFO, EZE, YVR, NRT, HNL, DPS, TPE.
— Judson Rollins (@SkyWriterAv) March 15, 2020
Significant capacity reductions and changes are expected across Air New Zealand’s short-haul international network to Australia and around the Pacific Island. Details of these changes are not yet finalized.
Tough new travel restrictions put the brake on Air New Zealand long-haul flights
It is long-haul travel that will bear the brunt of cuts.
Air New Zealand is now advising that the following routes will be suspended between 30 March to 30 June;
- NZ26/NZ27 Auckland – Chicago – Auckland;
- NZ08/NZ07 Auckland – San Francisco – Auckland;
- NZ28/NZ29 Auckland – Houston – Auckland;
- NZ30/NZ31 Auckland – Buenos Aires – Auckland;
- NZ24/NZ23 Auckland – Vancouver – Auckland;
- NZ99/NZ90 Auckland – Tokyo Narita – Auckland;
- NZ10/NZ09 Auckland – Honolulu – Auckland;
- NZ65/NZ64 Auckland – Denpasar – Auckland; and
- NZ77/NZ78 Auckland – Taipei – Auckland
In a nutshell, the move reduces Air New Zealand’s North American services to Auckland – Los Angeles. The airline’s fifth freedom flight between Los Angeles and London Heathrow is being suspended from 20 March 2020 ex LAX and 21 March 2020 ex LHR.
Air New Zealand’s CEO, Greg Foran, went on to say;
“We are now accepting that for the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people. We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far. We are working on redeployment opportunities for some of our staff within the airline and also to support other organizations”.
The next few months are going to be testing for Air New Zealand
The next couple of months look set to be a testing time for the airline. Air New Zealand was already under some pressure following a disappointing result in the last financial year. The new CEO promised a thorough review of Air New Zealand’s operations and costs.
However, the current environment makes the 2019 operating environment look like a piece of cake. Air New Zealand’s decision follows news over the weekend that American Airlines is suspending all services to Oceania.
Additionally, Air New Zealand’s key market of Australia is now also requiring all incoming passengers to self-isolate for 14 days. This effectively wipes out the all-important trans-Tasman traffic.
Air New Zealand says for the time being it will need to become a “smaller airline”. It will be looking for co-operation from employees, unions, passengers and the New Zealand government as it attempts to ride out the storm.
The airline advises that its call center is extremely busy. Passengers are requested not to contact the airline unless you are flying within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation.