Today Air New Zealand postponed its ambitious Auckland to New York direct flights by a year. This comes as the fallout from the aviation crisis continues to affect the airline. The carrier has also decided to delay the introduction of its Boeing 787-10 fleet and new business class cabin. Finally, it will exit its fifth freedom Auckland to London via Los Angeles route earlier than scheduled.
What are the details?
Like many airlines right now, Air New Zealand is feeling the heat from the aviation crisis. The carrier has seen less than 5% of business that it would normally see going into the southern hemisphere winter and has even opted to fly what was once daily routes, weekly.
But the latest news from the carrier that will be the most hurtful for Kiwi fans, is the airline’s move to delay its introduction of its stellar Auckland to New York direct route to at least 2021. Even worse, sources inside the airline have suggested that the delays may even extend until 2022 when the market recovers.
“It’s deeply disappointing to be in this position, our people have worked tenaciously over the years to build these markets and excitement was growing for our non-stop New York flight.” Nick Judd, Air New Zealand’s Chief Networks, Strategy and Alliances Officer said to Executive Traveler.
“However, the effects of COVID-19 continue to bite; we expect most countries to take a cautious approach to international travel in the next year and we have to be pragmatic.”
The route would connect the two cities over a distance of 14,200km and would be flown by an especially premium heavy configured Boeing 787-9 (very much like direct Singapore to New York flight operated by Singapore Airlines).
Delayed introduction of new aircraft and business class
With a desire to reduce spending over the next year, Air New Zealand has postponed the introduction of its new Boeing 787-10 aircraft until after 2022. These aircraft are slated to take over from the airlines aging Boeing 777s.
But with the borders closed, it is unknown if these Boeing 777s will even take flight again for passenger service until the 787-10s are delivered. What was supposed to a plan for the far future has seen the type possibly retired much earlier.
In addition, the Boeing 787-10s and Boeing 777s were slated to carry a new business class. With both aircraft out of the picture for the next year, the new cabin has also been delayed.
Scrapping its fifth freedom flight early
Air New Zealand has also decided to call it quits on its fifth freedom flight to London via Los Angeles several months ahead of schedule. The plan was originally to finish the route in October (around the same time as the launch of the New York route). Due to the aviation crisis, the carrier doesn’t see demand returning before that deadline.
“Government travel restrictions will continue for some time and demand for our Los Angeles-London service is unlikely to recover before our planned exit in October” continued Rudd to Executive Traveler.
What do you think of this? Will you fly on the new service from New York to Auckland? Let us know in the comments.