ANZ downsizes on Hongkong-London route

4 Jun 2009

Following up the news brief on Air New Zealand (ANZ) reducing frequencies between Hongkong and London (Latest airline bytes, May 30), the culprits are the usual: ferocious competition and the economic downturn.

At present, ANZ plies the route daily with three class B777-200s. However, from September 23 the Wednesday flight is being axed, and from October 12, the Monday flight will also be dropped, cutting the service from seven to five flights a week.

Current schedules see NZ39 departing Hongkong at 0830 and arriving into Heathrow the same day at 1435. The return flight NZ38 leaves Heathrow at 2105 to reach Hongkong at 1750 the following day.

Flights are configured for Business, Premium Economy and regular Economy Class. ANZ does not offer a first class product.

ANZ’s London-Hongkong flights continue on to Auckland. It is only the London to Hongkong sector which is being withdrawn on the days in question. The airline has yet to make an official statement but the revised schedules are posted in airline booking systems.

Lacking the brand identity of the three leading carriers on the route (British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic), and with the drawback of an unfashionably early departure from Hongkong, ANZ has had to tempt passengers with special fares and this will have depressed its earnings. It also means that members of the Star Alliance will no longer have the option of a daily flight on a route which is dominated by oneworld member carriers.

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Alex McWhirter

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