Air New Zealand plans to further reduce capacity across its network due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak on travel demand.

New Zealand’s flag carrier said it “placed itself into a trading halt to allow it time to more fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions”.

Long-haul network

The carrier will reduce its long-haul capacity by 85 per cent over the coming months, and will only “operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open”.

Air New Zealand will suspend flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30 to June 30.

It will also suspend its London-Los Angeles service from March 20 (departing from Los Angeles) and March 21 (departing from London Heathrow) through June 30.

The airline said more details about its long-haul schedule changes will be announced in the coming days.

Tasman and Pacific Island network

As for its Tasman and Pacific Island network, the airline said it will “significantly” reduce the capacity between April and June.

Overall, the airline said its Tasman capacity will reduce by 80 per cent over this period.

According to the airline, it’ll reduce flights on the following routes:

  • Wellington-Sydney: Reduced to two return services per week
  • Christchurch-Sydney: Reduced to two return services per week
  • Auckland-Sydney: Reduced to seven return services per week
  • Auckland-Brisbane: Reduced to five return services per week
  • Auckland-Melbourne: Reduced to seven return services per week

Meanwhile, the airline added that all other Tasman routes will be suspended from March 30 to June 30:

  • Auckland-Adelaide, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Coolangatta, Perth
  • Christchurch-Brisbane, Melbourne, Coolangatta
  • Wellington-Brisbane, Melbourne
  • Queenstown-Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane

The airline said these dates may change if demand reduces further.

Domestic network

Domestic capacity will be reduced by around 30 per cent in April and May, but no routes will be suspended.

The airline added that its board of directors will take a 15 per cent pay cut until the end of this calendar year as part of the airline’s cost savings initiatives.

It has also deployed measures like leave without pay and asked those with excess leave to take it.

Arrangements for affected passengers

Air New Zealand advises customers not to contact the airline unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country, due to the “unprecedented level of schedule changes”.

According to Air New Zealand, customers who have any existing long-haul bookings (including Honolulu and Bali) issued on or before March 4 for travel before July 1 this year can choose from the following options:

  • Make one change to the booking, where the standard change fee and contact centre service fee will be waived.
  • Have the fare held in credit for 12 months from the date of original issue if they are unsure as to when they would like to travel, and any change fees and service fees will be waived upon rebooking.

The airline said those who booked their flights with a travel agent need to reach out to them directly to make changes.

It added that any fare and tax differences will be applicable at the time of rebooking.

For those making new bookings of international flights between March 5 and March 31, the airline said the standard change fee and contact centre service fee will be waived if they need to make a change, though fare and tax difference may apply at the time of rebooking.

Further details of the airline’s rebooking policy due to the Covid-19 outbreak can be found here.