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New Zealand to abolish ‘bothersome’ departure cards

Auckland Airport
Auckland Airport. Photo: Steve Creedy.

New Zealand will follow Australia and abolish  “bothersome” departure cards from November in a move pitched as bringing seamless travel between the close neighbors one step closer.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri announced the document’s demise Sunday but have yet to announce an exact date.

The removal is in line with an international trend as countries rely on more sophisticated records to track traveler identity information. Australia axed its onerous green departure cards in July last year.

READ: Australia axes painful outgoing passenger card.

The New Zealanders estimate it will save departing travelers 100,000 hours as they complete more than 6.5 million cards a year.

“The removal of departure cards will align with international best practice,’’ Less-Galloway said in the announcement.

“Few other countries have departure cards with the level of detail required by the New Zealand one.

“This also brings us closer to seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for the benefit of Trans-Tasman travelers and businesses.

“Travellers will be able to travel departure card-free on both sides of the Tasman.”

Whaitiri said information captured by the departure cards was now mainly used for statistical purposes.

“Stats NZ has developed an alternative way to produce migration and tourism statistics, based on actual movements rather than passengers’ stated intentions on the departure cards,” she said.

Airlines and tourism authorities have been lobbying for years for easier access between Australia and New Zealand.

A report compiled for the Tourism & Transport Forum released in 2017  estimated that using biometrics and US-style passenger pre-clearance on flights between Australia and New Zealand could slash travel time for almost seven million passengers by at least an hour.

The report by international consultancy Airbiz Aviation Strategies argued that allowing passengers undergo immigration clearance at the departure point passenger would reap benefits for airlines, airports and border protection agencies.

It would slash the number of people standing in international arrival queues, boost security and reduce the pressure on airports, it said.

Sydney Airport passengers forecast to top 65 million by 2039

travel canceled
Photo: Sydney Airport.

Sydney Airport plans to expand its international precinct and introduce international services to its domestic terminals to cope with an expected 51 percent increase in passenger traffic to 65.6 million people by 2039.

The increase — from 43.3 million a year in 2017 — will include an almost doubling of international passengers at Australia’s busiest airport from 15.9 million to 31.5 million over the same period.

The forecasts take into account the development of a second airport in Western Sydney that is expected to soak up some aviation demand.

However, Sydney Airport management believes the city’s original airport will continue to benefit from its proximity to Sydney’s central business district and local tourist attractions as well broad connectivity between international, domestic and regional services

Rises in international tourism will see international arrivals gain in importance as a percentage of overall traffic.

“Our proximity to Asia and increases in global tourism and travel are expected to drive international travel,” the airport says in a new Preliminary Master Plan released for public comment Monday.

“In particular, growth in major Asian markets, including China, India, South Korea and Vietnam.

“By 2039, we anticipate that the split between domestic and international passengers traveling through the airport will be 52 percent and 48 percent respectively.”

The welcome news for the increasingly crowded suburbs surrounding the airport is that the Master Plan predicts that growth in aircraft movements will be significantly lower than passenger growth.

It forecasts 408,260 aircraft movements in 2039,  17 percent higher than in 2017, reflecting “airline feedback and expectations regarding continued up-gauging of aircraft and increased seat density and load factors”.

The plans says key operational strategies for coping with the growth include continued development of its T1 international precinct as .swell as the development of a T2/T3 integrated operations precinct accommodating international, domestic and regional passenger services.

This is tipped to include new terminal structures north of T1 and east of T2 and T3 to deliver additional aircraft stands.

These will include 17 additional contact stands and seven aircraft positions serviced by busses.

A northern extension to T1 would include additional immigration services, aircraft gates, baggage reclaim operations as well as customs and transfer facilities.

There are plans for a new satellite pier in the airport’s southwest sector providing a passenger product similar to that “in the current terminal connected piers’.

The airport also plans to join an international trend towards the introduction of “swing gates” designed to optimize the use of terminal infrastructure by allowing the airport to switch from international to domestic and regional aircraft.

Like many airports around the world, Sydney is using technology to help improve the journey through its facilities and reduce queue times.

READ Sydney Airport trials facial recognition to ease passenger pain.

The plan calls for “enhanced access to multi-modal ground transport facilities” and an improvement in passenger connectivity by reducing transfers between precincts.

This includes “a sustainable inter-precinct passenger transfer product that over time would utilize autonomous vehicles”.

Steve Creedy also contributes to the Australian Airports Association’s The Airport Professional blog.



JetBlue introduces fresh Mint but others unlikely to follow

Mint Business Class JetBlue
JetBlue's Mint business class.

Although the premium service has been a signal success at low-cost JetBlue, its wildly-popular lie-flat seat concept probably won’t fly with most LCCs.

That’s because ‘Mint’ is designed to attract business travelers, corporate types.

“Mint’s been very disruptive, especially in the[US] trans-continental market,” says noted aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive Robert W. Mann,  president of Port Washington, New York-based R.W. Mann and Company.

“It’s disrupted premium pricing where American, Delta or United compete with them.”

Read: Air New Zealand, JetBlue to foster travel innovation.

The minting of the front cabins on JetBlue’s Airbus A321s is the product of largely of corporate flyers who live in the U.S. northeast.

“It reflects [the fact] that an increasing amount of JetBlue’s business, especially in Boston and New York, is business,”  says Mann.

JetBlue has been courting corporate passengers largely since the airline made the move to the Sabre ticket distribution system.

Mann says the shift to corporate ridership was made “to compensate for the relatively higher distribution costs they now have by virtue of selling seats  [via] Sabre.”

He believes that move to Sabre helps JetBlue command “a higher natural share of premium bookings than would a Spirit or Frontier”.

So, unless Spirit or Frontier was to think differently about corporate travel marketing and sales, they would be an unlikely adaptor of a premium-type product.”

The two LCCs already sell extra space aboard their A319s and A320.

Spirit’s entry is the Big Front Seat, a 22-inch wide, with a 36-inch pitch. Frontier also offers extra leg room.

Neither carrier pretends their service remotely resembles Mint. No gourmet tapas, no cappuccino machine, no artisanal ice cream. Most of all, no lie-flats

Mint is taking off for a dozen cities from its JFK hub and nine from Boston– counting the latest winter addition of three Saturday-only Mint destinations.

These include JFK-Liberia, Costa Rica on December 15, BOS-St. Lucia November 3, JFK-St. Maarten February 16, 2019, and Boston-St. Maarten on February 16.

Mint flights to sun  and fun destinations such as these sop frequent flyer miles accumulated by business travelers, says Mann. Travelers earn and burn miles on the same airline.

Qantas “Dream” Sunrise Project On Knife Edge

Qantas Sunrise Project

Qantas’ dream Project Sunrise is on a knife edge with Airbus emerging from behind as a serious contender for the highly prized Qantas order for an aircraft that will fly non-stop the 17,000km from Sydney to London and 16,700km from New York to Melbourne.

Qantas’ chief Alan Joyce told that “it is a two-horse race and we are telling them there is a lot to play for.

“Our teams are working the pros and cons which gives us the best overhaul business case.”

Mr. Joyce added, however, that both Airbus and Boeing keep “coming back with more seats and more capability.”

READ: She was to be the palace of the skies.

General Electric started test flights of the GE9X engine earlier this year and reports are that the engine is performing well and this will enable Boeing to refine – and improve – it’s offering.

Insiders at Qantas say it is “very, very close” and some say Airbus is now “in front.”

Working for Airbus is the following:

  1. Possibly earlier delivery
  2. Both its A350-1000 and -900 are lighter than the 777 models thus more adaptable for shorter routes
  3. Capacity possibly more in line with market needs
  4. Crew commonality with A330 and A380
  5. Have aircraft flying and know exactly what they can do.

For Boeing:

  1. All new fourth generation composite wing
  2. Latest GE engine
  3. Boeing 777-9X matches more closely an A380 replacement
  4. Crew commonality with 787
  5. High reliability of 787 operation
  6. Wider interior for premium cabins

To specifically meet the Project Sunrise requirements, Boeing is proposing a tweaked version of its Boeing 777-8X while Airbus is pushing a similarly tweaked version of its A350-1000 and -900 aircraft that Singapore Airlines has ordered.

Boeing's 777X Qantas's

The A350-1000 has greater range than the standard -900 and Airbus stated at the recent IATA conference that it was looking to give the -1000 the URL (Ultra Long Range) treatment.

Some media have been suggesting that the A350-900 has been excluded from the project but understands this is not the case.

A Qantas insider says this is not the case while Airbus says: “We are looking at all the options to meet the Project Sunrise requirement but can’t comment on the details of our discussions with Qantas.”

Mr. Joyce said that an RFP will be issued soon and he expects that to be completed by end of FY19 with the delivery of the first aircraft in 2022.

Qantas’ enthusiasm for the service is buoyed by the tremendous success of the Perth to London Boeing 787 non-stop which is achieving an incredible 92 percent load factor and 95 percent in premium classes.

And in New Zealand, insiders are saying that the A350 is a “short nose” in front of the 777X for its pending order.




Qantas gets better at filling aircraft seats

Qantas seats capacity
Photo: Qantas.

Noticed that aircraft on Australian domestic flights are becoming more crowded as airlines fill a bigger percentage of seats?

It’s a trend that’s set to continue for passengers of the nation’s biggest airline.

Qantas believes it can absorb increased domestic passenger demand by filling more seats on existing aircraft and matching planes to demand on routes rather than by adding overall capacity.

READ Qantas underlying profit hits a new record.

After a surge of growth in the so-called capacity wars, Australia now seems stuck at a bottom of the basket of countries used in the International Air Transport Association to illustrate domestic growth.

The latest Australian government figures show domestic capacity in June 2018 was down by almost 1 percent compared to a year ago and the number of aircraft trips fell by 4.8 percent.

The result was the industry-wide load factor rose from 77.4 percent in June 2017 to 78.6 percent in the latest month.

Higher load factors give airlines better control over yields, a measure of average fares, and this helps them to boost margins and profitability.

That was certainly the case for Qantas, which on Thursday said its Qantas and Jetstar domestic operations achieved a combined record underlying profit of $A1.1 million, up 25 percent on the previous year.

“We’re seeing healthy levels of demand in all parts of the domestic market,’’ said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce. “our corporate share remains strong, our SME share is growing and leisure travel is expanding.”

Despite this growth, capacity in the domestic market fell by 0.5 percent in financial year 2017 and is expected to remain flat in the current financial year.

According to Joyce, the airline has become much better at matching capacity to demand.

He gave the example of the end of the resources boom in Western Australia.

Qantas managed that by moving in smaller aircraft and it is continuing to manage that as it sees signs of recovery.

It has also become very good at managing seasonal demand in the domestic market, he said, matching capacity with high-demand periods such as Christmas and school holidays as well as lower demand periods such as August.

“What Jetstar and Qantas have gotten very good at doing is contouring and managing those capacities better,’’ he told the Qantas results announcement on Thursday.

“We’re also using the empty seats on the aircraft.

“What you’ve seen in these results is that we’ve improved our seat factor by 2.6 percent which means we are taking more demand, but we are doing it within the existing capacity.”

Joyce argued this “makes sense for everybody” and was one of the reasons domestic airfares continued to be low in Australia.

“They’re down 40 percent on the discount fares compared to where they were back 15 years ago when the government started recording statistics,’’ he said.

“I don’t think there’s another product or service in Australia in real terms that are down by 40 percent.

“And the customers are getting a better product than they’ve ever done — better lounges, better seats, wi-fi, better aircraft overall.

“So that’s a unique combination and it’s because we’re getting the efficiency right and using what we have right.

“And we think there’s still more of that can be done going forward and that’s why we’re maintaining the capacity decision that we have.”

Joyce said the airline moves aircraft around when it sees growth opportunities.

“So while the overall picture of flat growth, there are individual markets that are going to see some growth, particularly what we’ve seen in the resources sector,” he said.

“We’re actively looking and we are putting aircraft into Western Australia, as an example, because we’re starting to see that dramatically recover.’’

Qantas London nonstop now setting load and profitablity records

Photo: Qantas.

The Qantas Perth to London non-stop service is setting yet more records but this time it’s not for speed but for passenger load factor and profitability.

Speaking exclusively with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that the load factor on the service is an incredible 92 percent and for premium classes, 94 percent making it the airline’s most profitable service say, analysts.

The airline’s overall load factor is just above 80 percent.

READ: Boeing and Airbus can meet Qantas’ Sydney to London non-stop dream 

Mr. Joyce was responding to data released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK aviation regulator which stated that the flights were only 78.1 percent full.

However, what the CAA numbers do not count are those passengers going on to Melbourne or any other destination in Australia.

Qantas 787 Dreamliner business
Qantas 787 business class cabin is 94 percent full on the Perth to London non-stop flight

Qantas had earlier responded by only saying “our London-Perth route is performing well – it is definitely exceeding our expectations.”

However, Mr. Joyce confided with that the service was way above expectations.

On further expansion of direct services with a Perth to Paris non-stop, Mr. Joyce said that the airline needed to see the results of 12-months of services that would take in the highs and lows of seasonal travel to access the overall viability of the direct flights.

Qantas has 14 787-9s in service or on order and is expected to commit to Paris in the first quarter next year.

The airline group, which has another 11 787-8s with its low fare subsidiary Jetstar, has price rights on the further 45 787s.

Qantas has also set speed records for the Perth to London QF9 Boeing 787-9 non-stop flight slashing almost an hour off the scheduled flight time.

The latest record time was set on July 20 and was just 16 hours 23 minutes instead of the scheduled 17 hours 20 minutes.

The non-stop flight to London, launched in March, is now consistently at least 45 minutes better than scheduled.

The times have gradually been getting better as the strong northern winter winds have given way to a lighter summer pattern.

The inbound QF10 from London to Perth is also setting record times of 15.45 minutes also stripping an hour off the published time.


Boeing and Airbus meet Qantas’ Sydney to London dream

Rendering 777-9X; 777-8X

The era of the ultra, ultra, long-haul flights is about to dawn with Qantas’ dream of flying from Sydney to London non-stop getting the go-ahead from Boeing and Airbus.

Qantas’ chief Alan Joyce told that both Boeing and Airbus can meet the airline’s challenge of an aircraft capable of flying from New York to Sydney non-stop with 300 passengers.

Boeing is proposing a tweaked version of its Boeing 777-8X while Airbus is pushing a similarly tweaked version of its A350 aircraft that Singapore Airlines has ordered.

What is not clear is how much each aircraft beats the 300 passengers mark and what the economics will be.

READ: Boeing’s giant Everett complex just got bigger 

“Both will be bit different but will have enough seats to make it economical,” said Mr. Joyce

However, according to Mr. Joyce, the Airbus A350 is “more adaptable” being lighter for routes to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

However, in the longer term, the 777-9X would be a better A380 replacement analyst suggest so commonality becomes an issue.

Qantas' ultra-lomg haul mission
Airbus A350-900ULR will be delivered to Singapore Airlines in October for its Singapore to New York non-stop.

“Our teams are working the pros and cons which gives us the best overhaul business case.”

Mr. Joyce added however that both Airbus and Boeing keep “coming back with more seats and more capability.”

The A350 or 777-8X would be used on Melbourne and Sydney to London and New York as well as destinations such as Chicago.

“It is a two-horse race and we are telling them there is a lot to play for, said Mr. Joyce.

However, Qantas also has some hurdles to cross with a modified pilot agreement to crew the aircraft. understand that the operation will require an additional set of pilots to a total of 6.

“We are having very constructive dialogue with the pilots on modifying the EBA,” said Mr. Joyce.

There are also regulatory issues that have to be ticked off for the operation.

Mr. Joyce said that an RFP will be issued and he expects that to be completed by end of FY19 with the delivery of the first aircraft in 2022.

Qantas’ enthusiasm for the service is buoyed by the tremendous success of the Perth to London Boeing 787 non-stop which is achieving an incredible 92 percent load factor and 95 percent in premium classes.




Qantas, American remain confident on alliance bid

Image: Qantas.

Qantas remains confident its joint venture with American Airlines will be approved but says a decision on its next US destination depends on how that pans out.

The partners are hopeful a decision from the US Department of Transport will come through in the next few months and Qantas will be able to announce which destination its Brisbane-based Boeing 787s will service.

The contenders are Chicago, Seattle and Dallas. Chicago and Dallas are hubs for American while Seattle is the home of another partner, Alaska Airlines

“We’ve made it very clear (about) our ambitions to grow our North American operations with more destinations and the 787 gives us great capability in order to do that,’’ Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at Thursday’s annual results announcement.

READ Qantas underlying profit hits a new record.

“We are working through the Department of Transport  application. They’ve asked us for more information, which was expected.

“We’re still confident, as America Airlines are,  that we will get the anti-trust immunity. We need that to be resolved because that does influence which of those destinations actually works.”

Joyce said the airline’s experience in Dallas had clearly shown that a partnership was needed to make these sorts of operations effective.

He said all the options remained on the table and the airline was not ruling anything in and out at this stage.

The original application by the airlines for anti-trust immunity for their trans-Pacific alliance foundered in 2016 when the DoT issued a tentative show cause notice that proposed to reject it.

The department concluded at that time that the proposal would substantially reduce competition and consumer choice without producing counterbalancing benefits.

Qantas and American regrouped to lodge a new submission in February, 2018 but in June the DoT issued an order requiring more information on a range of issues, including the expected benefits to travelers.

READ: US seeks more information on American-Qantas alliance benefits.




Qantas underlying profit hits a new record.

qantas record underlying profit
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and chief financial officer Tino La Spina at the results announcement. Photo: Geoffrey Thomas.

Qantas has defied the global trend to lower airline profitability by unveiling a record underlying annual profit of $A1.6 billion as it boosted pre-tax statutory profit by 18 percent to $1.4 billion.

The airline said the striking result was helped by healthy demand levels across key markets, higher revenue and a particularly strong performance by the Qantas and Jetstar domestic flying businesses.

Net profit was $980 million, up from $853 million last year.

All business units returned a profit with the domestic units delivering a 25 percent increase in underlying profit to $A1.1 billion.

The airline said the strong domestic result was achieved by a combination of Qantas and Jetstar’s network, schedule and product strengths in key markets.

Qantas domestic saw a 19 percent rise in earnings from a 6 percent increase in revenue.

Margin growth was helped through efficiency gains and investing for a higher premium with products such as new lounges and inflight WiFi.

The airline said the group maintained its share of the corporate and increased its share of small to medium enterprises.

Demand was also boosted by passenger flows from international partner airlines and leisure demand remained strong.

Qantas International delivered a 7 percent earnings increase to $A399m as it boosted the number of seats filled despite a 4 percent rise in capacity.

The international operation, once the airline’s problem child, benefitted from the introduction of fuel-efficient Boeing 787s and Qantas expects this to accelerate in 2018-19

Jetstar International posted a strong profit despite the $A11 million impact from the Bali ash cloud and the start-up of new routes.

The airline’s powerhouse loyalty program also posted another record profit of $A372m, although growth was subdued at relatively flat 1 percent.

“These numbers show a company that’s delivering across the board,’’ chief executive Alan Joyce said in the results announcement.

“Our investment(s) in free Wi-Fi and cabin improvements are delivering a better experience for customers as well as higher earnings for Qantas and Jetstar.

“The overall value for the traveling public remains extremely strong, with domestic sale fares almost 40 percent lower in real terms than they were 15 years ago.

“We’re seeing healthy demand across key sectors matched with improving levels of capacity discipline, which is a positive sign for the year ahead.’’

Joyce said the record result came despite higher oil prices and the airline was facing another increase to its fuel bill in fiscal 2019.

However, he was confident it would substantially recover this through a range of capacity, revenue and cost efficiency measures as well as through its hedging program.

The airline also confirmed it would open its Pilot Academy across two locations in regional Australia but did not reveal which of the nine shortlisted cities would get the prize.

The nine cities are Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga.

The airline plans to train up to 100 pilots a year but expects this to grow to as many as 500 annually once it has more than one location.

Also in train are upgrades to six lounges in Sydney, Auckland, Tokyo, Brisbane, Hobart and Tamworth.

The multi-million investment will see the airline’s flagship International first class lounge in Sydney revamped and expanded by 15 percent, while its lounge in Brisbane will be boosted to cater for an additional 100 guests.

In Auckland, the first and business lounges will be redesigned into a single facility similar to those in London and Hong Kong.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been steadily renewing lounges right across our network. This next wave of improvements that we’re announcing today will improve our customers’ overall travel experience,” Joyce said.

“We know the lounge experience is a key part of people’s journey and it’s also how we reward our most frequent flyers. As the demand for premium travel increases, we’re responding with more space in our lounges, more dining options and designs that reflect the destination.”

The big financial result means 27,000 non-executive staff will receive a bonus of $A2500 and shareholders receive a fully-franked dividend of 11 cents and there is a share buyback of $A332 million.


Profitable Air New Zealand flags continuing fare bonanza

Air New Zealand profit cheap fares
Air New Zealand is expecting 19 million passengers by 2020. Image: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has pledged to offer more cheap fares on domestic routes as it grows capacity and takes an additional seven A321neos in anticipation of future network growth in its home market.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon made the fares promise as the company Thursday reported a 2.1 percent rise in 2017-18 annual net profit to $NZ390 million.

“One of the benefits of a growing Air New Zealand is more opportunities than ever for Kiwis to snap up a bargain,’’ Luxon said in the airline’s results announcement.  “In 2019, we will offer more than 2.9 million seats for travel in New Zealand for under $100.’’

Luxon also revealed the airline expects to add a million customers a year, reaching 19 million by 2020, as it expands its overall network.

The Kiwi carrier reported its second-ever highest annual pre-tax profit of $NZ540 million, up from $NZ527 million last year, on record revenues of $NZ5.5 billion, up 7.4 percent.

However, the airline predicted the higher jet fuel costs, assumed to be around $US85 a barrel, would result in lower underlying earnings before tax of between $NZ425m and $NZ525m in 2018-19.

The fiscal 2018 result came despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and the cost of schedule changes due to engine problems with its Rolls-Royce powered Boeing 787s.

“This is an impressive financial result, driven by strong revenue growth across the airline’s key markets, as well as continued focus on sustainable cost improvement, despite significantly higher fuel prices,’’ chairman Tony Carter said.

READ: Air New Zealand to get first female chairman.

“The ability of the airline to achieve its second-highest profit in such a challenging environment really speaks to the focused strategy and unique competitive advantages that Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon and his leadership team have spent years building.”

The result means about 8500 Air New Zealand staff will receive bonuses of up to $NZ1800 while shareholders get a final dividend of 11 cents per share, taking the total ordinary dividend for the year to 22 cents per share.

Air New Zealand will be the first airline in Australasia to take delivery of the new Airbus single-aisle neo aircraft and has 10 A320/A321neos on their way to provide “continued growth and cost benefits” to its Tasman and Pacific islands network.

It has provided capital expenditure for seven A321neos to be delivered between 2020 and 2024 for deployment on high-demand domestic routes in support of further growth.

It expects the new planes, equipped with new engines and 25 percent more seats, to deliver fuel savings and efficiencies of up to 15 percent compared to the airline’s existing A320s.

A dark spot remained the ongoing global problem with some versions of Rolls’ Trent 1000 engine.

AirNZ to committed to a third short-term leased widebody aircraft as it faces an estimated $NZ30-40 million impact from the issue on the current financial year.

This will see it lease two Boeing 777-200s and a Boeing 777-300 to help minimize inconvenience to customers. However, it  flagged it will still need to make adjustments to its schedule as it continues to work through the Trent 1000 maintenance requirements.

“The adjustments to our schedule will essentially free up two widebody aircraft enabling us to provide greater schedule certainty for customers,’’ chief executive Christopher Luxon said.

“This will include adjusting weekly frequency on our Buenos Aires and Taipei services, as well as seeking to retime our flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.  We are confident that these proactive steps will result in better reliability for our customers.’’

Luxon acknowledged the impact of the disruptions to the airline’s operation performance caused by the engine issue and the loyalty of affected customers.

‘These disruptions have resulted in a level of service for some that did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves,’’ he said.

“We do not take our customers’ choice to fly with Air New Zealand for granted and remain focused on making improvements across all touch points of their travel journey.’’

Despite the Trent problems, Air New Zealand is continuing to expand as it follows its Pacific Rim strategy and will launch new services to Taipei and Chicago in November. It will take delivery of two additional 787-0s equipped with Rolls-Royce TEN engines not affected by the maintenance issues.

It will also launch new services to Brisbane from Wellington and Queenstown in December and a third daily service will be added between Singapore and Auckland in partnership with Singapore Airlines.

The airline said its Pacific Rim strategy had allowed for consistently profitable network expansion over the past five years as passenger numbers grew from 13 million in 2013 to 17 million.

It said it would continue to invest in regional lounges, customer contact centers and inflight products and services to improve the customer experience.

Luxon said the airline saw positive demand signals in the short term, with strong forward bookings heading into the peak summer season and passenger growth expected to continue its upward trajectory.

“Looking out over the next two years, the airline is expecting to grow by one million customers a year, reaching 19 million customers by the end of 2020,” he said.


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