ANZ drops Singapore and downgrades London-LA-Auckland service

13 Jul 2006 by business traveller

Air New Zealand (ANZ) will stop flying the useful link between Singapore and Auckland next autumn. At the same time ANZ has announced it will convert its daily London to Auckland service via Los Angeles from a B747 to a B777.

Economic reasons have prompted Star Alliance member ANZ to drop Singapore from October 2. Says the airline’s CEO Bob Fyfe, “North Asian routes represent substantially greater growth prospects than SE Asia which is already served by international airlines.”

ANZ says that most of its passengers flying into Singapore are connecting with other flights and this sort of traffic isn’t profitable as the carrier must share the revenue with other airlines. According to Ed Sims, ANZ’s group general manager, “Only five percent of our passengers are bound for Singapore itself. The vast majority are transferring for destinations in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of these passengers can be served by taking ANZ’s flight to Hong Kong [which connects with other Star Alliance members’ services and will be extended to London from October 29].”
In place of Singapore, ANZ will be launching a new service to Shanghai on November 6.

The plane switch (from a B747 to a B777) on the London to Auckland (via Los Angeles) service can be interpreted as a downgrade as well as another cost-saving measure.

ANZ’s B777s are newer planes but discerning premium passengers claim they don’t offer the same ambience as found on the B747. The B747’s two unique features, its upper deck and zone A in the aircraft’s “nose,” are absent on the B777. (ANZ accommodates its B747 premium passengers in these two zones.). For passengers spending 24 hours on the plane, such differences are real. The B777 is also fitted with fewer premium seats. ANZ will lose 20 seats in business and 13 seats in premium economy.

Defending his decision to use the B777, Bob Fyfe says, “The B777 has given us the flexibility to right size aircraft to the varying demands in our markets. With current fuel prices and our focus on optimising fuel usage it makes sense to use the more fuel efficient B777 on this route.”

The B747 will be switched to its forthcoming London to Auckland (via Hong Kong) service commencing October 29. This is tipped to become the carrier’s flagship service to Europe. As reported in previous Online news articles, the London-Hong Kong-Auckland routing is expected to prove more popular as passengers are increasingly reluctant to transit the US because of protracted security checks.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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