October 04, 2012
Air New Zealand once more is increasing capacity on its transpacific routes, adding flights to all three of its North American gateways and signaling that further increases soon will be unveiled.
The airline says the new services—to begin in April 2013—will replace 75% of the nonstop capacity between New Zealand and the U.S. that was lost when Qantas withdrew from the Auckland-Los Angeles route. It may also be pre-emptive, since Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe recently told a shareholder meeting that he believes Qantas may look to re-enter this market once its partnership with Emirates Airline is established.
Air New Zealand says it will likely announce “further capacity additions [for North America] beyond July 2013 in the coming weeks.” And an airline spokeswoman says that any capacity increase will probably occur on existing routes, in contrast to indications made in June by Fyfe.
In the changes announced yesterday, Auckland-Los Angeles flights will become twice daily— up from the 12 weekly flights operated in April 2012—and at this stage there are no plans to reduce this frequency following the northern summer, the spokeswoman says.
There also will continue to be a third flight once a week during peak periods. This route is operated with Boeing 777-200ERs and -300ERs.
The Auckland-San Francisco route will increase from five times a week to daily, using Boeing 747-400s and 777-200ERs, and a third weekly flight to Vancouver will be operated in off-peak months, with five weekly flights during peak times. Boeing 777-200ERs will continue to be used on this route.
Separately, Air New Zealand announced that its Deputy CEO Norm Thompson will retire June 30, 2013. Thompson will follow two other Air New Zealand senior executives who are leaving at the end of the year—Group General Manager-People and Technical Operations Vanessa Stoddart and General Manager-Operations Glen Sowry.
Fyfe is scheduled to leave Air New Zealand at the end of 2012; Christopher Luxon will assume his CEO responsibilities.