******UPDATE: The flight suspension has prompted Air New Zealand to bring forward its London cabin crew base of 130 flight attendants.

The airline had planned to close the base in October. London-based crew will operate their final flight, Los Angeles-London, on March 20.

New Zealand-based crew will operate the final flight (before the suspension) ex-London on March 21.*****

For 40 years, Air New Zealand has plied between Auckland and London Heathrow.

London is the carrier’s sole European destination (travellers from mainland Europe are offered connections via Heathrow).

In a few days’ time, Air New Zealand says it will suspend its daily Auckland-Los Angeles-London service because of the impact on travel demand caused by the coronavirus.

The last service (before the suspension) will arrive into, and depart from, London Heathrow on March 21. It will remain suspended until June 30.

Services operating between Auckland and Los Angeles will remain but it is unclear at this stage what arrangements will be made to take customers to and from London.

Air New Zealand has advised travellers (who have already booked) that during the time its London service is suspended it will offer:

  1. A full refund or partial refund for any unused ticket portion.
  2. A travel voucher (for Air New Zealand in conjunction with partner carriers) valid 12 months.
  3. One free change is allowed free of charge.

Air New Zealand will be suspending almost all its long-haul routes for roughly three months with effect from the end of March.

These will be services out of Auckland to Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Denpasar (Bali) and Taipei.

Says CEO Greg Foran, “For the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people. We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far.”

Readers will have noted that Air New Zealand will be ending its London service permanently at the end of October, as we reported a few months ago.

Air New Zealand to cancel London route