Air New Zealand unveils reduced schedule for dark days ahead

March 25, 2020
Air New Zealand
Photo: Steve Creedy

Air New Zealand has unveiled a limited international schedule for April and May that includes Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai and three ports in Australia.

The schedule involves a handful of weekly flights and comes after the airline slashed its international capacity by 95 percent because of restrictions and a slump in demand prompted by COVID-19.

It aims to enable essential travel and keep air freight moving to key cargo destination in Asia and North America,

READ: Virgin stands down 8000 workers, cuts flying by 90 percent.

The airline will be flying seven trans-Tasman return flights a week from Auckland with two each to Brisbane and Melbourne and three to Sydney.

Three pacific islands — Rarotonga, Fiji and Niue — will each get a return flight a week while Norfolk Island will get a weekly flight from each of Sydney and Brisbane.

Air New Zealand said Samoa and Tonga were not permitting international flights, but it would put in one service per week from Auckland to each island until the restrictions end.

The Auckland-Los Angeles route will merit three return services weekly while Hong Kong will get two and Shanghai will be served on alternate days.

The Hong Kong services are being retimed to a night operation ex-Auckland and Hong Kong to maximize connection opportunities for cargo.

The Kiwi carrier last week completed a deal for a $NZ900m government standby loan facility to help it tackle the devastating impact of coronavirus and canceled its dividend.

“These are unprecedented times that we are all having to navigate,’’  chief executive Greg Foran said.

“And it is clear that if we don’t take all the appropriate measures to lower costs and to drive revenue, our airline won’t be in the best position to accelerate forward once we are through the worst of the impact of COVID-19.”