Air New Zealand (ANZ) will withdraw services between Hong Kong and London from March 4, 2013, while it has agreed a new strategic partnership with Cathay Pacific in a seperate announcement.
There was speculation in January that the Kiwi carrier would drop its long-haul London services (see online news January 25) but it has confirmed there will be no changes to the daily London – Los Angeles – Auckland service.
Rob Fyfe, chief executive officer at ANZ, says extra capacity may be freed up for the popular North American services following the decision to drop Hong Kong-London. ANZ has recently opened a new Star Alliance lounge in the Tom Bradley international terminal at LAX (see online news July 30).
Fyfe says a comprehensive review of the Hong Kong – London service confirmed that the route would not become profitable in the foreseeable future. It is expected that around 70 London based cabin crew jobs will be cut as a result of this decision.
In a separate move the airline has formed a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific on the Auckland – Hong Kong route, effective from December 12. This will see the two carriers codeshare on existing Auckland and Hong Kong services, while also providing ANZ passengers with connections to mainland China and beyond.
"At the same time, we wanted to strengthen our presence in Hong Kong which is an important market and vital gateway into mainland China for Air New Zealand. In line with this we have received approval from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport to form a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific effective from December 12, 2012,” says Fyfe.
Air New Zealand customers will now earn Airpoints Dollars on Cathay Pacific flights between Auckland and Hong Kong, and Airpoints and Koru members travelling on Air New Zealand flight numbers will receive lounge access and premium customer benefits on this route, with Marco Polo Club members enjoying reciprocal benefits.
Around 8,000 customers currently holding tickets to travel between Hong Kong and London from March 4 will be contacted by the carrier and re-booked, in most cases onto Cathay Pacific’s services.
For more information visit airnewzealand.co.uk.
Report by Scott Carey