If you have booked an Air New Zealand flight between Hong Kong and New Zealand’s largest city Auckland in the first quarter of 2020, you may find yourself flying on one of Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific’s aircraft instead.
Air New Zealand announced today that its alliance partner Cathay Pacific will take over operations of the Hong Kong-Auckland return service for “most of the next three months”.
Cathay Pacific will introduce an additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft on the Auckland-Hong Kong route from 6 January to 19 January 2020. The 280-seat aircraft will operate daily and has business, premium economy and economy seating.
Cathay Pacific will also operate a Boeing 777-300ER on the same route from 1 February until 28 March 2020. The 294-seat aircraft also has business, premium economy and economy cabins and will operate daily in February and five times a week in March.
Air New Zealand aircraft will operate the Hong Kong-Auckland route between 20 January and 31 January.
Customers booked to travel with Air New Zealand on this route during these two periods will be automatically transferred to these services for both periods, Air New Zealand said.
“The Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 777-300ER are modern aircraft of a similar high standard to our Air New Zealand fleet, so we know customers will receive the high level of service Cathay Pacific is known for,” said Air New Zealand senior manager customer care and communications Doug Grant in a press release.
“This aircraft capacity will help fill the gaps in our schedule to get people to their destinations in the coming weeks and it’s been beneficial to have our alliance partner Cathay Pacific step in and assist us at this busy time.”
The Cathay Pacific operated services will depart Auckland at 1145 in January (1140 in February and March), arriving in Hong Kong at 1800. The flight from Hong Kong will depart at 1825, arriving in Auckland at 1025 in January (1020 in February and March) the following day local time.
Air New Zealand said it will directly contact customers affected by these changes in the coming week. Customers booked via a travel agent (including online travel agents) will be contacted by their booking agent. The latest information will also be published on the Travel Alerts section of the Air New Zealand website. Air New Zealand said it encourages customers to check this before calling the airline’s contact centre, adding that customers are also welcome to directly message the airline through its social media channels.
Not flown Cathay Pacific before and don’t know what to expect. No problem: we have reviews of both their A350-900 and 777-300ER in our Tried & Tested section.
Why is Air New Zealand doing this?
Air New Zealand said the move allows it capacity flexibility in its international operations as it deals with the impact of issues with the Rolls-Royce engines on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The airline announced last month it will be making some international changes to its schedule as a result of issues impacting some of its Rolls-Royce engines. This includes the suspension of its twice-weekly seasonal Christchurch-Perth service, cancelling its second daily Auckland-Perth service from 10 December 2019 until 5 January and 20 other international cancellations from 10 December-2 January.
Rolls-Royce requires operators of its Trent 1000 TEN model engines to carry out more frequent maintenance due to an issue with the engine’s high-pressure turbine blades, Air New Zealand said.
“Rolls-Royce does not have any replacement engines available while maintenance work is undertaken and has advised Air New Zealand there’s significant wait for repair services,” the airline added.
If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the Trent issues, this article contains an explainer on the subject.