Tag Archives: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand grounds Boeing 777 fleet until September 2021

Air New Zealand made this announcement:

In May 2020 the airline grounded the majority of its seven Boeing 777-300 aircraft until the end of the 2020 calendar year. At the same time the company also signalled it was unlikely to fly its eight 777-200 aircraft in the foreseeable future and began preparing to send these into long term storage overseas.

Four of Air New Zealand’s 777-300 aircraft will be stored in Victorville in the Californian desert, while the remaining three will stay in Auckland where they are able to be returned to service if required. The airline’s 777-200 aircraft will be sent to long-term storage facilities in both Roswell, New Mexico and Victorville, California from later this month.

The North American locations were chosen for their arid conditions and existing storage facilities which will ensure aircraft are kept in a condition that will enable them to be returned to service within six to eight weeks if required.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the recovery of the airline’s international network post-COVID-19 is now looking to be slower than initially thought.

“The recent resurgence of cases in New Zealand is a reminder that this is a highly volatile situation. We are not anticipating a return to any 777 flying until September 2021 at the earliest, which is why we have made the decision to ground the fleet until at least this time next year.”

The 777s are the largest aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet and have operated the majority of the airline’s long haul routes over the past 15 years. The airline’s international schedule will be operated by the more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, along with A320s and A320/21neos for trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand limits capacity on inbound international services

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand has put a hold on new bookings on international services into New Zealand following a request from the New Zealand Government.

The move is to help ensure the country is able to provide quarantine accommodation for inbound passengers for the required 14-day period.

As well as the temporary hold on new bookings for the next three weeks, the airline is also looking at aligning daily arrivals with the capacity available at managed isolation facilities. This may mean some customers will need to be moved to another flight.

Air New Zealand Chief Commercial and Customer Officer Cam Wallace says the airline has been working closely with the government to understand how it can support the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19 at the border.

“We accept this is a necessary short-term measure given the limited capacity in quarantine facilities and we’re keen to do what we can to help New Zealand’s continued success in its fight against COVID-19.”

The airline is proactively contacting customers affected by these changes from today. The Air New Zealand contact centre is currently experiencing very high demand, and customers are also welcome to contact the airline via its social media channels. Customers booked via a travel agent, including a third-party website (e.g. Expedia, Booking.com) should speak directly with their agent.

Air New Zealand is grateful to customers for their patience while it works through these changes.

Outbound Air New Zealand services from New Zealand to international ports are not affected by the New Zealand Government restrictions. Domestic services are not impacted.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=PW4hvG&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

Air New Zealand ramps up cargo operations

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand Cargo is offering importers and exporters a range of charter options to keep cargo moving to and from New Zealand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Air New Zealand General Manager Cargo Rick Nelson says the airline has introduced a number of innovative measures to keep Kiwi businesses connected to the world.

“We’re offering our cargo customers a range of aircraft charter services covering every port on the Air New Zealand network (excluding London). We have also been able to provide customised options from North American markets through to Australia.

“With our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for example, we have the ability to uplift 11 cargo pallets in each direction we fly. Each of these pallets can take up to 12 cubic metres in volume and up to 4600 kilograms in weight.

“We’ve shared these options with our global cargo customer base and are getting some strong interest from customers wanting to ship to and from Shanghai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne.

“We’ve also introduced the concept of a ‘Multi Party Charter Agreement’ which has been designed to help small and medium sized exporters and importers to ensure they have options available to them to move their goods in these challenging times. Under this model, our customers can purchase a single airfreight pallet position on a charter flight, or by working together with a freight forwarder, a coalition of exporters and importers can potentially combine and consolidate their shipments so that they are able to purchase a single unit on the aircraft.

“This is undoubtedly an extremely difficult time for our airline with a significant reduction in capacity due to reduced travel demand, but we are pleased to be able to keep New Zealand connected to the world in this way.”

At the same time, Air New Zealand is working with the Government to ensure critical cargo transport lines are maintained.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand updates its international network

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand is adjusting its international network to match demand and government travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline will operate a limited international network from March 30 to May 31, 2020 to enable essential travel and to keep air freight moving through key cargo corridors to North America and Asia. Overall, international capacity will reduce by 95 percent from pre-COVID-19 levels.

Domestic services into Auckland will be scheduled to allow travellers to connect onto Tasman and Pacific routes.

The airline’s international schedule from March 30 to May 31 will be as follows. All services are subject to change as governments continue to introduce or change travel and border restrictions.

Tasman services (per week)

 

Auckland-Sydney Three return services
Auckland-Brisbane Two return services
Auckland-Melbourne Two return services

 

Pacific services (per week)

 

Auckland-Rarotonga One return service
Auckland-Fiji One return service
Auckland-Niue One return service
Sydney-Norfolk One return service
Brisbane-Norfolk One return service

 Samoa and Tonga are currently not permitting international flights. If these restrictions end, Air New Zealand is likely to operate one return service per week from Auckland.

Long-haul services (per week)

Auckland-Los Angeles Three return services
Auckland-Hong Kong Two return services
Auckland-Shanghai Return services on alternate days from 2 May

The airline is retiming its Hong Kong service to a night operation ex Auckland and Hong Kong to maximise connection opportunities for cargo.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand enters debt funding agreement

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand has entered into a debt funding agreement with the New Zealand Government. Under the terms of the agreement the Government will provide a standby loan facility (‘the facility”) of up $900 million to support the airline as it manages the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on its business.

The facility will provide Air New Zealand with the ability to draw down on funds should its cash reserves drop below a minimum threshold, providing additional funds if cash reserves are not at a satisfactory level. The facility was negotiated on an arms’ length basis, with each party having been independently advised. The facility will be provided in two tranches – a tranche of $600,000,000 with an effective interest rate initially expected to be between 7% and 8% per annum and a second tranche of $300,000,000 with an effective interest rate initially expected to be in the order of 9% per annum. The facility will be available for a period of 24 months. The effective interest rates on both tranches will step-up by 1% if the facility remains after 12 months. This debt funding will be used to support the airline’s business operations as it manages the implications of various government border restrictions and substantial reductions in travel demand.

The availability of each tranche of the facility is subject to certain conditions precedent, including agreeing an operating finance plan with the Government and other documentary conditions precedent. Another condition precedent which Air New Zealand must satisfy in order to have the facility available is the cancellation of the 2020 interim dividend of 11 cents per share (which equates to a total of $123 million) that was announced to the market on 27 February 2020 and was due to be paid to all shareholders, including the Government, on 25 March 2020. Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors believes that, given the highly uncertain environment that exists, the cancellation of this dividend is in the best interests of the airline, including because that action is a pre-requisite to the availability of the facility. Accordingly, the Air New Zealand Board has cancelled this interim dividend effective today.

Other terms of the agreement (which is in the form of a binding terms sheet to be converted into long form agreements), include: a prohibition on payment by Air New Zealand of any dividends or other distributions to shareholders (including the Government) while any amount is available to be drawn under the facility, the giving of security for the loan by Air New Zealand and certain of its subsidiaries over their assets (subject to certain exceptions), the Government having the ability to seek repayment through a capital raise by the airline after six months, or converting the loan to equity (subject to compliance with laws and any necessary regulatory and/or shareholder approvals), Air New Zealand giving various undertakings, representations and operational and informational and other undertakings, and typical events of default. NZX Regulation has granted Air New Zealand waivers from the requirements under the NZX Listing Rules to obtain shareholder approval for entry into and performance of the facility with the Government (as a related party of Air New Zealand). Those waivers were granted because of the recent, extraordinary decline in Air New Zealand’s market capitalisation, and on the grounds that Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors have confirmed that: entry into the facility is in the best interests of all Air New Zealand shareholders (other than the Government); there has been an arms’ length negotiation in relation to the facility, and that the Government has not influenced Air New Zealand’s decision to enter into the facility.

Both Air New Zealand and the Government acknowledge that the terms of the facility do not alter the fundamental principles of their relationship, with the airlines Board of Directors, Greg Foran as CEO and the Executive Team maintaining responsibility for all commercial and operational decisions of the airline.

Separately, and distinct from this agreement, the Government is working with Air New Zealand to ensure other key services can be provided, including repatriation flights, maintaining critical cargo transport lines and having Air New Zealand staff assist the health response. Those services will be provided for under separate commercial arrangements to be negotiated in the future on an arms’ length basis between the airline and the Government.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand to close its London cabin crew base

Air New Zealand has made the decision to bring forward the closure of its London cabin crew base of 130 flight attendants due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world.  

 London-based cabin crew will operate their final service on the route on March 20 (ex Los Angeles). A New Zealand-based crew will operate the remaining flight on March 21. The route will then be suspended until June 30.  

 Air New Zealand had planned to close the cabin crew base with its withdrawal from the route in October 2020.  

Air New Zealand General Manager Cabin Crew Leeanne Langridge says these are unprecedented times for the airline and the past few weeks have presented an unsettling period for many staff.  

“The increasing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are having a significant impact on bookings and flight cancellations. While this is a tough decision, it’s important we take action now to responsibly manage Air New Zealand through this difficult period to maintain a national airline that is fit for the future. 

“Our London-based cabin crew have always gone above and beyond. They consistently provide exemplary service to our customers and we remain incredibly proud of the base. Our priority now is supporting our people and we’ll be working closely with them and their union.” 

Earlier in the week, Air New Zealand announced it is reviewing its cost base in response to COVID-19 and is working with unions on a range of measures to reduce its labor bill by 30 percent. 

The airline placed itself into a trading halt on Monday to allow it time to fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions. The trading halt remains in place. 

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand announces significant capacity reductions

 

Air New Zealand is further reducing capacity across its network as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on travel demand.

On its long haul network Air New Zealand will be reducing its capacity by 85 percent over the coming months and will operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open. Full details of this schedule will be advised in the coming days.

Among the long haul network capacity reductions, the airline can advise it is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30 to June 30. It is also suspending its London–Los Angeles service from March 20 (ex LAX) and March 21 (ex LHR) through to  June 30.

The Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June. Details of these schedule changes will be announced later this week.

On the domestic network, capacity will be reduced by around 30 percent in April and May but no routes will be suspended.

Customers are advised that due to the unprecedented level of schedule changes they should not contact the airline unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country.

Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says that while airlines face an unprecedented challenge, Air New Zealand is better placed than most to navigate its way through it.

As a result of the downturn in travel Air New Zealand continues to review its cost base and will need to start the process of redundancies for permanent positions acknowledging the important role partnering with unions has in this process.

“We are now accepting that for the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people. We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far. We are working on redeployment opportunities for some of our staff within the airline and also to support other organisations”.

Mr Foran says the airline is working constructively with the heads of the four main unions representing more than 8,000 of its workforce to ensure the right outcome for all staff.

As part of Air New Zealand’s cost savings initiatives the Board of Directors will take a 15 percent pay cut until the end of this calendar year.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand confirms coronavirus passenger was on board its three flights

Air New Zealand made this announcement:

The passenger travelled from Singapore to Auckland on flight NZ283 on February 25, 2020, then flew from Auckland to Palmerston North on flight NZ5103 on March 2, 2020, returning to Auckland on NZ8114 the same day.

The airline is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Government agencies to identify and proactively contact customers who travelled on the Singapore service and the two regional flights.

Air New Zealand Chief Medical Officer Doctor Ben Johnston says Air New Zealand has anticipated and planned for this scenario, and has a robust process in play to manage its response.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to identify and proactively contact customers from these flights. This includes utilising our own Contact Centre staff. The health and safety of passengers and crew is Air New Zealand’s top priority and our aircraft already undergo a thorough cleaning process, which includes cleaning surfaces such as tray tables and inflight entertainment screens with a disinfectant that kills viruses,” Dr Johnston says.

“We also remove all headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, and blankets after every international flight. Domestic and regional services surfaces and bathrooms are wiped with disinfectant spray. The three aircraft this customer flew on will now also undergo a deep clean.”

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand unveils its new “Economy Skynest”

The Economy Skynest. (CNW Group/Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand made this announcement:

Air New Zealand has unveiled a ground-breaking new lie-flat prototype sleep product for economy class travellers.

The Economy Skynest is the result of three years of Air New Zealand research and development, with the input of more than 200 customers at its Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland. The airline has today filed patent and trademark applications for the Economy Skynest which provides six full length lie-flat sleep pods.

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says that as the airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming AucklandNew York service at up to 17 hours 40 minutes one way, it is committed to putting more magic back into flying.

“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft.  A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge,” Mr Tod says.

Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest next year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of AucklandNew York operations.

General Manager of Customer Experience, Nikki Goodman says customer and cabin crew feedback on the Economy Skynest during its final phase of development has been outstanding with significant partners also keenly involved.

“We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go. This is a game changer on so many levels,” Ms Goodman says.

“We’re so excited to be sharing this product development with our customers. This is one of the highlights of three years’ intensive work centred on customer wellbeing. We’re sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying.  We expect other airlines will want to explore licensing the Economy Skynest from us just as they have with the Economy Skycouch.”

Air New Zealand’s Head of Airline Programmes Kerry Reeves says ‘can do’ is one of the airline’s key values and the Economy Skynest prototype is a tangible example of this.

“At Air New Zealand, we continue to nurture a can-do attitude, we’re not afraid of being bold and trying new things. The question is never ‘can we do this’ but instead ‘is it right to do this for our customers?’ and, if so, ‘how will we do this?'”

“Our ability to take a good idea, to execute and deliver an innovation that works in our environment, our market and for our people and customers gives us an edge.”

Mr Reeves says the scale of the challenge in developing the Economy Skynest and working through its certification with the necessary regulators is immense compared with the development of the Economy Skycouch.

“But it was a prize worth chasing and one that we think has the potential to be a game changer for economy class travellers on all airlines around the world.”

Air New Zealand Economy Skynest specs*

Where will the
Economy Skynest
be placed within the
aircraft?

The exact positioning of the Economy Skynest within the aircraft has still
to be confirmed, however, it will be in the Economy cabin

How many beds will
the Economy
Skynest
accommodate?

Each Economy Skynest can accommodate six sleeping pods

Overall length of the
sleeping pods

In excess of 200cm

Width at the
shoulder area

In excess of 58cm

What’s included with
the Economy
Skynest?

It is intended that each pod will include a full-size pillow, sheets
and blanket, ear plugs along with privacy curtains and lighting designed for
sleep. We are exploring other features such as separate reading light,
personal device USB outlet and ventilation outlet

*all specifications subject to change