19 Apr 2018

Air NZ delays could cause 'significant disruption'

8:22 am on 19 April 2018

Air New Zealand's flight cancellations and delays affecting thousands of passengers will cause a ripple effect, travel agents and commentators say.

Auckland Airport

Air New Zealand planes at Auckland Airport. (file photo) Photo: 123RF

The airline has to carry out urgent engine maintenance of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet because of more problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines Air New Zealand uses.

It will cause delays until at least the middle of next week.

House of Travel commercial planning director Brent Thomas said they were expecting to be helping customers with their queries in the foreseeable future and it would not be just flights that would cause issues.

"It's not just about the flights, its also about their connecting travel - so, do they have connecting flights, do they go on to a coach or a cruise, what's the story for their hotel - so quite significant disruption for a number of people."

Mr Thomas said this was why it was important to book travel insurance when booking trips, rather than just before travelling, as once a problem eventuates it could be hard to get coverage.

Independent aviation commentator Irene King agreed and said while it was unfortunate, the airlines were not required to cover the cost to passengers for delays.

She said the airlines would be dealing with their own costs.

"They've got crews in the wrong place, they've got aircrafts in the wrong place, they're paying additional parking fees at airports, you name it, so their costs start to climb when their service is not being delivered on time," she said.

Ms King said the airline was having to deal with the downstream effects.

"We're sort of at the end of the globe and so when you start rescheduling you've got to think about curfews around the globe and how you get aircrafts in and out in time," she said.

"There's a lot of consideration which will be going through everyone's minds."

She said it was also challenging for the ground staff who were dealing with customers as well as those ensuring pilots were getting the right amount of flight time.

She said the delays were not put in place lightly, and there would have been significant data indicating the planes needed to be out of use.