4 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Air NZ cuts more flights

7:00 pm on 4 March 2020

Air New Zealand is making further cuts to domestic, trans-Tasman, and Asian services to counter the impact of Covid-19.

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Photo: 123RF

The airline said flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong, which were set to resume at the end of the month, would be less frequent than originally planned.

Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said it had no choice but to make further cuts to manage the virus' impact.

"In line with other airlines around the world, we're having to make swift capacity reductions."

The cuts will go through until the end of June.

Flights to Shanghai were due to resume at the end of the month, if travel restrictions were lifted. However, the carrier said it would plan to fly every other day to Shanghai instead of the previous plan of daily flights.

Similarly, Hong Kong services were set to fall to five return services a week until just after Easter, when they would be cut to three return services.

Services to Singapore, Tokyo's Narita airport, and Taipei were also being cut back.

Air New Zealand said the number of trans-Tasman seats would be cut by a further 4 percent, and domestic services by 2 percent until the end of June.

It had already announced reduced services in mid-February on selective routes.

Last month at its half year earnings report the airline warned its earnings could be hit by as much as $75m, as it cut its full year underlying earnings forecast between $300m and $350m, from earlier guidance of $350m to $450m.

Qantas, Jet Star, and Virgin Australia have all cut services to Asia and New Zealand because of the virus.

Wallace said affected customers or their travel agents would be contacted this week.

It would also waive penalty charges for changing any international bookings made between 5 March to 31 March, but standard charges for changing domestic tickets will remain.