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An Air New Zealand 787 landing at Houston IAH (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

Aircraft in New Zealand Slowly Return to The Sky

After months of the coronavirus outbreak, Air New Zealand has announced that additional frequencies of domestic flights will be added in July and August. The airline will operate around 55 percent of its usual capacity compared to before-pandemic levels.

Scott Carr, General Manager of the airline said, “We’ve been encouraged by demand from leisure travelers recently and we’re also expecting demand for business travel to continue to build.”

According to IATA, the New Zealand government has responded quickly to the COVID-19 by carrying out the regulations in the initial phase. As a result of the low coronavirus cases in the country, the government eased restrictions on May 13 as domestic air travel is allowed with social distancing. In the meantime, the demand for air travel in the country has skyrocketed since the lift of the travel ban.

Meanwhile, in Australia, a favorite country for Kiwi tourism, the infection cases have seen a downward trend as well. Both countries have discussed opening their borders, letting their citizens travel to each other without a compulsory 14-day quarantine, the so-called “travel bubble.”

In response to the proposal,  Nick Judd, Chief Network, Strategy and Alliances Officer said, “We’re keen to work with government and industry partners on steps we can take to safety support economic recovery through travel and connect family and friends.”

However, the threat of the coronavirus is far from over. Earlier, Air New Zealand has announced the majority of its international network remains canceled, with currently limited international flight schedules extending to Aug. 31. This represents only five percent of the carrier’s usual total international capacity. However, the airline retains two limited long-haul services, including from Auckland to Los Angeles and Auckland to Hong Kong.

Earlier, the carrier revealed its cost-cutting program. According to Greg Foran, the chief executive, said, “We must first survive, then revive and finally thrive.”

The airline has cut thousands of jobs since the pandemic started and hasn’t ruled out more job cuts in the future. Also, the national flag carrier revealed an 800-day plan for a return to  “healthy profit” by 2022 with 70 percent capacity.

Such as other international airlines, Air New Zealand experienced a huge drop in April. According to IATA, April was the “nadir of the crisis” and the aviation industry is recovering after hitting bottom. Recently, countries are beginning to lift the strict mobility rules and the figure showed that daily flights had risen 30 percent from the lowest point in April.


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