Saturday, 25 April 2020

Air New Zealand will not resume operation of its suspended Auckland-Buenos Aires and Los Angeles-London routes

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 departing for India.                                             Photo Air New Zealand 
Air New Zealand has confirmed this week that it will not be restarting some of the routes that it suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among them is the London - Los Angeles route, the carrier had previously announced it would be axing the service in October of this year, so it isn't a surprise the ANZ isn't going to restart that operation and has brought forward the closure of the London crew base.

Another route the airline will halt permanently is the service between the home base of Auckland and Buenos Aires in Argentina. 

Air New Zealand has also decided to postpone the start of a non-stop Auckland-New York service that had been due to start from 29 October 2020. According to the airline, it will now plan to start the route sometime during the autumn of  2021 at the earliest.

Nick Judd, Air New Zealand's Chief Networks, Strategy and Alliances Officer said demand for international travel was at about five percent of pre-COVID-19 levels into June. "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.

"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. 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. Argentina has been challenging before the pandemic and we don't expect this market to recover quickly."

The carrier is currently operating a very limited international network through until 30 June designed to keep air links open for essential travel and cargo movements on a few key trade routes.  

Prior to the coronavirus COVID-19, Air New Zealand operated a daily service between Los Angeles and London and up to five times weekly from Auckland to Buenos Aires.

Indian repatriation flights

On Thursday Flight NZ1954 departed Auckland International Airport, with two subsequent flights, are due to depart over the coming day to go to India to pick up stranded New Zealand nationals.  The Boeing 777-300 aircraft will pick up travellers in Delhi and Mumbai before returning directly to New Zealand.

The airline says a full team of six pilots, fourteen cabin crew and one ramp support staff member, have volunteered to operate these special repatriation flights.

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer Captain David Morgan said: "We're pleased to be able to assist the New Zealand Government with these repatriation flights to bring Kiwis home."

"There's always an additional level of complexity to a repatriation mission when landing at a new location. Our teams are highly experienced in managing such a detailed operation, and we have been working closely with both governments to ensure safety is the number one priority."

The airline has not made public how much it is charging the New Zealand government for these charter flights. 

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