24 Apr 2020

Air NZ to drop two international routes

10:14 am on 24 April 2020

Air New Zealand will not resume operation of its suspended Auckland to Buenos Aires and Los Angeles to London routes because of the impact of Covid-19.

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Photo: 123rf

The airline has also decided to postpone the launch of its non-stop Auckland to New York service from 29 October 2020 until late 2021 at the earliest.

Air New Zealand's Buenos Aires and Los Angeles to London routes are currently suspended until 30 June because of government travel bans and low demand.

Last year, the airline announced it planned to stop the Los Angeles London route in October 2020 and in March said it would close its London cabin crew base.

Demand for international travel has been tracking at about 5 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels, Air New Zealand's Nick Judd said.

"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," Judd said.

Government travel restrictions would continue for some time and demand for Air New Zealand's Los Angeles to London service was unlikely to recover before its planned exit in October, he said.

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

Air New Zealand is operating a limited international network until 30 June to keep air links open for essential travel and cargo movement on key trade routes. It's total capacity has been reduced to 95 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels and demand will be reviewed on a route-by-route basis before services are resumed, the airline said in a statement.

The airline will support travellers affected by these changes and customers will be contacted with options in coming days. Customers who booked via a travel agent, including a third-party website should speak with their agent, the airline said.

Prior to 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.

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