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An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 at Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Air New Zealand Pushes Back International Schedule Resumption, Defers Aircraft Deliveries  

Air New Zealand has announced it will be pushing back the restart of international operations. Though the carrier had previously stated its plans to resume international flights by June 30, this has now been pushed back until August as demand levels remain low.

From August 30, the Auckland-based carrier will resume a reduced international schedule with four weekly flights from Auckland to Sydney, three between Auckland and Melbourne and Brisbane and one weekly service between Norfolk, Brisbane and Sydney.

The New Zealand flag carrier will also resume long-haul flights with five weekly return flights between Auckland and Los Angeles and two between Auckland and Hong Kong. Additionally, Air New Zealand will also operate a weekly flight between Auckland and Niue, a South Pacific island country by the same date. This represents 5% of Air New Zealand’s international capacity pre-COVID.

To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on its operations, Air New Zealand highlighted a series of measures that it is taking to reduce costs.

As reported by FlightGlobal, the Auckland-based carrier is deferring or cancelling $430 million of capital expenditure by deferring orders for seven A321neos scheduled to be delivered in the next two years. Along with a series of additional measures that include a 30 percent staff cut, the airline plans to reduce yearly costs by up to 400 million New Zealand dollars ($250 million).

As part of its cost reductions plans, the airline plans to store its 15 Boeing 777 fleet made up by a mix of Boeing 777-200ERs and the larger 777-300ER at least until the end of the year.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Two days ago, Air New Zealand opened its domestic lounges in 12 airports, including Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington; as the country starts going out again after strict lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Social distance measures have been put into place as self-service buffets have been replaced by table service while operating at reduced capacity.

Jose Antonio Payet
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